An Ultimate Guide on Brass as a Manufacturing Material. Learn About the Nature, Properties, and Uses of Brass.

In this blog post, you’ll read:Brass is a popular metallic alloy that offers tons of benefits. Its usage is extended to several industries due to its versatility. Using brass reduces the risk of bacterial attacks. It is also resistant to a lot of quality-compromising effects. This blog post will teach us about the nature, properties, and uses of brass. Here is an ultimate guide on brass as a manufacturing material.
Table of Contents

Brass is a popular metallic alloy that offers tons of benefits. Its usage is extended to several industries due to its versatility. Using brass reduces the risk of bacterial attacks. It is also resistant to a lot of quality-compromising effects. This blog post will teach us about brass’s nature, properties, and uses. Here is an ultimate guide on brass as a manufacturing material.

What is Brass?

Brass is a versatile metallic alloy of copper and zinc in specific ratios. The differences in the quantity of copper and zinc change the properties of brass.

The usual color of brass is golden-yellow. But if the copper content is high, it gives a reddish shade to the metal. We can add certain other elements in brass to get the desired properties. These include nick, tin, or lead. Brass is ideal for CNC machining and workability.

Brass raw materials bar
Brass raw materials bar

Components of Brass:

The two crucial components of brass are copper and zinc. The quantity of both these components determines the properties of brass. It also leads to the different brass types having a certain alloy content. We can add many other components to this composition for additional properties. For instance, lead is excellent for good machinability and corrosion resistance. Similarly, iron is recommended for hardness and easier forging.

Different Types of Brass:

Generally, the broader classification of brass leads to two types. These types signify a specific content of zinc. Let’s understand different types of brass.

Alpha Brass:

Brasses with less than 37% zinc in their composition are called alpha brasses. This zinc content marks the excellent malleability and ductility of the metal. Their crystalline structure is face-centered cubic. It can be handled and drawn into sheets effortlessly. Thus making it a favorite for artisans and craftsmen.

Brass manufacturers can enhance their mechanical properties by adding iron, silicon, or aluminum. This type of brass is applicable for decorative items due to its brighter appearance.

Alpha-Beta Brass:

This type of brass contains more than 37% of zinc content in its composition. Their structure has both face-centered and body-centered cubic crystals. Treating with heat allows brass manufacturers to get desired shapes and properties. Adding lead can increase its machinability.

The strength and hardness of alpha-beta brasses are higher than that of alpha brasses. They are ideal for heavy-duty usage. They have unique hot and cold working properties, making them suitable for forging. The applications of alpha-beta brass include the production of machinery, valves, hardware, etc.

Leaded Brass:

Leaded brass has 1-3% lead in its composition, which offers good machinability. They can be molded into complex shapes by undergoing high-speed machining. They have lower elasticity than non-leaded brasses.

Yet, they allow cold working to industrial-grade brass manufacturers with good corrosion resistance. Their applications involve plumbing valves, brass pipe fittings, etc.

High-Zinc Beta Brass:

These brasses contain at least 85% zinc content and 15% copper. Their crystalline structure is body-centered cubic in a single phase. They are suitable for die-casting due to their properties.

Brass manufacturers can mold and strengthen them via heat treatment. They have good fluidity, wear resistance, and low melting point. Yet, they can be prone to cracks in case of high stress. Their usage includes producing fitting components like fasteners, hinges, locks, etc.

Different types of brass
Different types of brass

Different Types of Brass Alloys:

Brass alloys can also be termed a more minor classification of brass types. The different types of brass alloys have a little difference in their composition. They are applicable in many industries and have specific other properties. Here are the most famous brass alloys. The tables below give the physical and chemical properties of brass alloys.

Alloy 260:

Alloy 260 is a brass alloy with 70 percent copper and 30 percent zinc in its formation. It does have impurities in its composition, along with other metals. It has ideal formability in hot conditions. The other name for alloy 260 is cartridge brass. It is highly aesthetic and appealing, thus used in decorative items. It is also a favorite choice for plumbing products, bathroom accessories, and musical instruments.

Properties of Brass Alloy 260:

 

Composition %

Zn: 28.5 – 31.5

Cu: 68.5 – 71.5

Fe <= 0.05

Pb <= 0.070

Density (g/cm3) 8.53
Machinability (%) 30
Yield Strength (MPa) 75
Elongation Break (%) 68
Hardness Rockwell (F) 54
Modulus of Elasticity (GPa) 110
Solidus Melting Point (°C) 915
Liquidus Melting Point (°C) 955
Ultimate Tensile Strength (MPa) 300

Alloy 280:

Brass alloy 280, also termed muntz metal, has 40% zinc and 60% copper. It has trace amounts of iron for strength and toughness. This alloy provides an effective coating on boat hulls, replacing iron sheets. It offers more machinability than alloy 260.

Properties of Brass Alloy 280:

 

Composition %

Zn: 40

Cu: 59 – 63

Fe <= 0.070

Pb <= 0.3

Density (g/cm3) 8.39
Machinability (%) 40
Yield Strength (MPa) 145
Elongation Break (%) 45
Hardness Rockwell (F) 85
Modulus of Elasticity (GPa) 105
Solidus Melting Point (°C) 900
Liquidus Melting Point (°C) 905
Ultimate Tensile Strength (MPa) 370

Alloy C360:

This brass alloy has an elemental makeup of 35.5% zinc, 60% copper, and around 3.7% lead. The best property of brass alloy C360 is its 100% machinability power. It is one of the most accessible brass alloys in terms of machining. Thus, brass manufacturers also refer to it as free machining brass. It is common in producing fitting parts, bushings, gears, etc.

Properties of Brass Alloy C360:

 

Composition %

Zn: 35.5

Cu: 60 – 63

Fe <= 0.35

Pb <= 2.5 – 3.7

Density (g/cm3) 8.49
Machinability (%) 100
Yield Strength (MPa) 124 – 310
Elongation Break (%) 78
Hardness Rockwell (B) 53
Modulus of Elasticity (GPa) 97
Solidus Melting Point (°C) 885
Liquidus Melting Point (°C) 900
Ultimate Tensile Strength (MPa) 338 – 469

Alloy 385:

Alloy 385 has a significant bronze content of about 59%, zinc up to 42%, and 3.5% lead. This particular makeup of brass makes it super durable for formability and machinability. Its applications are in the architectural industry in aluminum extrusions.

Properties of Brass Alloy 385:

 

Composition %

Zn: 36.65 – 41.65

Cu: 55 – 59

Fe <= 0.35

Pb <= 2.3 – 3.5

Density (g/cm3) 8.47
Machinability (%) 90
Yield Strength (MPa) 138
Elongation Break (%) 30
Hardness Rockwell (B) 65
Modulus of Elasticity (GPa) 97
Solidus Melting Point (°C) 875
Liquidus Melting Point (°C) 890
Ultimate Tensile Strength (MPa) 414

Alloy 464:

Alloy 464 is commonly known as naval brass. It has 59% of copper proportion and zinc around 40%. It contains trace amounts of lead and 1% tin. It offers excellent corrosion resistance, which makes it suitable for relevant applications. It is widely utilized in the manufacturing of boat fittings for marine environments.

Properties of Brass Alloy 464:

 

Composition %

Zn: 36.65 – 4.65

Cu: 55 – 59

Fe <= 0.35

Pb <= 2.5 – 3.5

Density (g/cm3) 8.41
Machinability (%) 30
Yield Strength (MPa) 172 – 455
Elongation Break (%) 50
Hardness Rockwell (B) 55
Modulus of Elasticity (GPa) 100
Solidus Melting Point (°C) 885
Liquidus Melting Point (°C) 900
Ultimate Tensile Strength (MPa) 379 – 607
Different types of brass raw materials
Different types of brass raw materials

General Physical Properties of Brass and Brass Alloys:

The physical properties of brass refer to its characteristics rather than a chemical composition. It includes the physical behaviors of the metal under varying conditions. Here are some general physical properties of brass and brass alloys.

Low Friction:

One of the best physical properties of brass is its lower friction in the working environment. It provides a smooth process without unnecessary obstructions. That’s why dynamic parts like gears and bearings are often composed of brass.

Corrosion Resistance:

Brass is a rigid material with good immunity against corrosion and wear. Therefore, it is ideal for marine, outdoor, and plumbing applications.

Good Acoustics:

Brass’s acoustic properties are the top reason for using it to make musical instruments. Brass is highly adaptable in forming saxophones and trumpets due to its nature.

Aesthetics:

The bright, appealing structure of brass adds to the aesthetics of the settings it’s used in. That’s why it is preferred for styling bathrooms and kitchen accessories.

Malleability:

Ideal malleability is one of the best physical properties of brass. It can be quickly drawn into complex shapes.

Applications of Brass:

Brass is a versatile metal; thus, it is not limited to a few industries. It is highly in demand for many different types of uses. Here are some typical applications of brass.

Plumbing Industry:

The plumbing industry is one of the best applications of brass. Industrial valves, pipe, and pipe fittings use brass as a manufacturing material. Brass provides corrosion resistance, long-lasting performance, and good machinability.

Musical Instruments:

Due to its durability and acoustics, brass is applicable in producing musical instruments. These include trombones, saxophones, and trumpets, etc.

Industrial Machinery:

Industrial and heavy-duty machinery contains intricate parts undergoing continuous movements. These parts are often constructed with brass due to its low friction properties.

Electrical Components:

Electric switches and connectors also use brass as a manufacturing material. Brass is chosen because of its resistance to corrosion and high conductivity rates.

Decorative Items:

The alloy 260 or yellow brass is often preferred to produce ornaments. It is also used in household accessories like door handles or taps. They give a bright, appealing look to the entire area.

brass parts
Brass parts

Advantages of Brass:

Here are some top advantages of using brass as a manufacturing material.

 

Good Machinability

One of the top advantages of brass is its excellent machining properties. Alloy C360 offers up to 100% machining workability.
 

Anti-Bacterial Properties

The copper in brass is responsible for its anti-bacterial effect. It makes it ideal for handling potable water and in marine conditions to kill certain bacteria.
Strength Though the strength of brass is dependent on its composition, it is considered a strong metal. Some alloys of brass have a whopping level of strength as they can undergo extremely high-pressure ranges without breaking out.
Low Friction Brass is best for sliding-wear applications due to its low coefficient of friction.

Disadvantages of Brass:

Here are a few disadvantages of brass under some circumstances.

 

High Cost

Due to the presence of copper, brass may offer high initial prices. It may be less costly than some premium metals but is higher than steel and other common metals.
 

Tarnishing

One of the disadvantages of brass is its chances of tarnishing in case of low maintenance. It can result in a blackish surface due to oxidation, which can be treated via coating.

Wrapping-Up _ An Ultimate Guide on Brass.

This article covers everything you need to know about brass as a manufacturing material. It is highly sustainable and durable through varying working conditions. Industrial brass manufacturers take brass through various steps for making different types of brass alloys.

Brass Valves are a beneficial and widespread application of brass. Plumberstar is a house with some incredible brass plumbing fixtures. You can check out their range of versatile and efficient products here.

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