The difference between Copper fittings and brass fittings

In this blog post, you’ll read:The core difference between Copper and Brass is that copper is a fundamental metal, Brass is a composite, copper consists of copper atoms only, and Brass is a zinc, copper, lead, and tin atoms alloy.
Table of Contents

The core difference between Copper and Brass is that copper is a fundamental metal, Brass is a composite, copper consists of copper atoms only, and Brass is a zinc, copper, lead, and tin atoms alloy. In respect of heat & electricity, both copper and Brass are good. 

What is Copper?

Copper is metal with a shiny look having a reddish-brown color. It is a pure metal made up of copper atoms only. There are some impurities as well, and it gives a rustic appearance. This metal seems reddish-brown. It is also corrosion-resistant so that it does not react with water. 

Coppers are one of the most influential conductors of electricity. When copper is close to a giant magnetic field, it shows a response. It possesses poor strength, and that’s why its use is less in structural applications. The elasticity and malleable properties of copper are very high.

This metal is useful in the making of an alloy of metals. Copper has a strong resistance to corrosion. The use of copper in the plumbing world is vast. They are useful in the making and construction of pipe fittings and pipes. Copper pipe fittings are used.

copper
copper

What is Brass?

Brass is an amalgamation of copper and zinc, and it is an alloy. Besides copper and zinc, another element like aluminum is also mixed to make Brass. It has good durability and Malleability. Brass appears bright golden and has high corrosion resistance.

Brass shows corrosion when it reacts with saltwater. A high part of zinc in the Brass makes it more malleable and gives good strength. The bright golden color of brass changes according to the percentage of zinc added to the mixture.

Because of its Malleability and pleasing appearance, Brass is used for decorative purposes. It is a kind of soft metal alloy having good strength. You should keep Brass at a safe distance from explosive gases. The presence of aluminum makes it more corrosion-resistant, and aluminum improves its strength. Besides aluminum, lead is also used in making Brass, improving the mechanical characteristics.

Comparison Table between Copper and Brass

Parameters of ComparisonCopperBrass
AppearanceRustic finish.Lighter finish.
DefinitionPure metal. Made up of copper atoms.Brass is an alloy. It is made up of mixtures of metals.
Corrosion ResistanceGood corrosion resistance.Get corroded only in saltwater.
CompositionCopper atoms, some impurities in micro amount.Brass contains zinc, copper, lead, tin, and aluminum.
ColourReddish-brownBright gold colored.
UsesPipe fittings, pipes, sculpture creations, wires, etc.Decorative purposes use.
brass materials
brass materials

Copper & Brass Pipe Fittings

Copper and brass pipe fittings have a lot of industrial applications. The fittings of the two different metals can be the same color. However, there are differences to distinguish. You should acknowledge the type of metal before the installation of the fittings. 

Differences between Copper and Brass Pipe Fitting

The wall thickness of the material is one of the significant differences. Besides, copper has less viscosity than Brass. Again, brass fittings can handle higher pressure systems. So the brass components used in specific systems need a thicker wall to protect against high-pressure incidents.

Another significant parameter is the weight of the material. Since brass is an alloy, it comprises several different metals. It makes Brass heavier than a typical copper fitting. You can sense the weight difference between these while holding both metal fittings.

The hardness factor of copper pipe fittings is different from Brass. Brass is a rigid material, and while Brass isn’t as strong as steel, it requires a more rigid material than copper. You can examine the hardness by yourself. Look at how easy it is for the material to bend. Brass will not turn when there is low pressure.

Brass plumbing materials are cheaper than copper. If budget is your primary consideration, the Brass should be your choice. Besides, if a plumbing system contains a lot of bends and joints, Brass will be better. It doesn’t need special tools to bend or shape, and Malleability is more remarkable than copper.

Copper fittings can be used for any diameters, large and small, and low and high-pressure systems under a wide range of temperatures.

The average lifespan of copper piping is 20 years. Since 1970, almost all the world countries have been using copper fittings in plumbing & water system. You should remember that corrosion may occur if your home’s water has a pH level below 6.5.

 One of the components of the brass alloy is lead. There is a possibility of corrosion for lead (Pb), and lead may leak into the pipework.

copper tube fittings
copper tube fittings

Why is Brass Fitting Preferable to Copper fitting?

Brass pipe fittings are popular among plumbers and construction professionals. It has dynamic properties. It is useful for carrying water, chemicals, and flammable gases. Also, for slurries and other plumbing substances. Fittings made of Brass have a wide range of shapes and thread sizes. It can make connecting or controlling any liquid or gas in pipes easier.

Apart from plumbing, brass fittings are also used for air brakes, hose ends, and fuel line valves.

You can use brass fittings in both residential and industrial plumbing. It is excellent for heavy-duty use. It is long-lasting without disintegrating or even cracking. A hot water supply system is also very much suitable for use because it can tolerate higher temperatures.

Sometimes it may need to mold or shape a fitting to work in specific areas. The brass fitting is perfect for this. Malleability makes Brass fittings a very flexible option for many tight plumbing spots.

There is no variety of Copper fittings but a few types of brass fittings there are. You can choose which one you need for your specific plumbing projects.

  • Pipe couplings: You can use it to use pipes of a similar size.
  • Pipe adaptors: used to change the joint type
  • Pipe nipples: used to connect two fittings
  • Pipe T’s are useful when more than one branch requires a water supply. It has the shape of a ‘T.’
  • Pipe elbows: used to change the way of flow between pipes
  • Pipe unions: used in the same manner as couplings
  • Pipe plugs: used to close pipes
  • Pipe wyes: used to join pipes at a 45-degree angle. It has the shape of ‘Y.’

Brass fittings are not too expensive as other options. Their strength, fidelity, and quality make brass fittings a wise investment. 

Copper Fitting
Brass Fitting

Advantages of Brass Fittings

  • Resilient and long-serving
  • Can withstand high temperatures
  • Available in a pleasing finish
  • More malleable than iron or steel
  • Rust resistant

Advantages of Copper Fittings

  • Available in a wide range of fittings and sizes
  • Excellent thermal conductivity
  • No need for painting or coating
  • Very durable
  • Reliable
  • Light and strong
  • Resistant to burning
  • Very ductile. Easy to manipulate to form joint
  • Applications of Brass Fitting
  • Water supply lines
  • Water removal drains and lines
  • Gas lines
  • Automotive applications
  • Ballcock adapters, refrigerator cooler system, and compression fittings
pipe fitting
pipe fitting

Applications of Copper Fitting

  • Hot and cold drinking water supply
  • Refrigerant lines for HVAC systems
  • Other applications that need a tight seal 
  • Underground service lines

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