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  Brass Knowledge Base  
 
 
     
 
What is Brass ? What is brass ?
 


Brass is any alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.

In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin.

Despite this distinction, some types of brasses are called bronzes. Brass is a substitutional alloy. It is used for decoration for its bright gold-like appearance; for applications where low friction is required such as locks, gears, bearings, ammunition, and valves; for plumbing and electrical applications..

Brass has a muted yellow color, somewhat similar to gold.

Brass has likely been known to humans since prehistoric times, even before zinc itself was discovered. It was produced by melting copper together with calamine, a zinc ore. In the German village of Breinigerberg, an ancient Roman settlement was discovered where a calamine ore mine existed. During the melting process, the zinc is extracted from the calamine and mixes with the copper. Pure zinc, on the other hand, has too low a boiling point to have been produced by ancient metalworking techniques. The many references to 'brass' appearing throughout the King James Bible are thought to signify another bronze alloy, or copper, rather than the strict modern definition of 'brass'

Brass Knowledge Base

 
   
 
   
Brass types Brass types
  • Admiralty brass contains 30% zinc and 1% tin which inhibits dezincification in most environments.

  • Alpha brasses (Prince's metal), with less than 35% zinc, are malleable, can be worked cold, and are used in pressing, forging, or similar applications. They contain only one phase, with face-centered cubic crystal structure.

  • Alpha-beta brass (Muntz metal), also called duplex brass, is 35-45% zinc and is suited for hot working. It contains both α and β' phase; the β'-phase is body-centered cubic and is harder and stronger than α. Alpha-beta brasses are usually worked hot.

  • Aluminium brass contains aluminium, which improves its corrosion resistance. Used in Euro coins (Nordic gold).

  • Arsenical brass contains an addition of arsenic and frequently aluminium and is used for boiler fireboxes.

  • Beta brasses, with 45-50% zinc content, can only be worked hot, and are harder, stronger, and suitable for casting.

  • Cartridge brass is a 30% zinc brass with good cold working properties.

  • Common brass, or rivet brass, is a 37% zinc brass, cheap and standard for cold working.

  • DZR brass is Dezincification resistant Brass with a small percentage of Arsenic.

  • Gilding metal is the softest type of brass commonly available. An alloy of 95% copper and 5% zinc, gilding metal is typically used for ammunition components.

  • High brass, contains 65% copper and 35% zinc, has a high tensile strength and is used for springs, screws, rivets.

  • Leaded brass is an alpha-beta brass with an addition of lead. It has excellent machinability.

  • Low brass is a copper-zinc alloy containing 20% zinc with a light golden color, excellent ductility and is used for flexible metal hoses and metal bellows.

  • Naval brass, similar to admiralty brass, is a 40% zinc brass and 1% tin.

  • Red brass, while not technically brass, is an American term for CuZnSn alloy known as gunmetal.

  • Rich low brass contains 85% copper 15% zinc often used in jewelry applications .

  • White brass contains more than 50% zinc and is too brittle for general use.

  • Yellow brass is an American term for 33% zinc brass.

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Brass Foundry Tips and All About Brass Casting
Brass Foundry Tips and All About Brass Casting
 
Brass is a great metal to cast with as it can provide some really great looking results. Many believe that brass, an alloy of zinc and copper, has been around since our prehistoric ancestors. Today brass is used or brass material is used in almost all type of industries, such as aerospace, agriculture, marine, fastening, pneumatic, plumbing sanitary pipe fitting, cable accessories, electrical components, electronic components, oil and gas fitting parts, decorative items, building construction hardware and mechanical machine parts.

The low melting point makes brass a really great material for metal casting since even the smaller home grown furnaces can be used. By adding and subtracting alloys from bronze one can successfully make hard or soft bronzes. Aluminum and tin are sometimes added to bronze to create a layer that is not corrosive and very durable. Of course, for the home foundry users, playing alchemist isn't really an option or necessary and scrap brass is perfectly acceptable in many cases. Locating scrap pieces of brass should be sufficient enough for whatever project you have in mind. Due to brass' gleam and yellow shine, many artists will use the alloy for sculptures, jewelry, and other decorative items. Other metal casters may choose to use brass for general hardware needs or vintage car restoration, and of course, whatever else they may choose.

Generally there are three casting methods that prove to be suitable for brass casting. Metal casters may choose to experiment with different methods and should not allow themselves to be limited.

Lost Wax casting is usually associated with bronze casting but can also be used for brass and for really any other metal. By using a wax model and covering it with a ceramic shell, artisans are able to inject the molten alloy which replaces the wax. Chipping away the shell will reveal the brass piece. Lost wax casting is used when a high attention to detail is needed. Artists or metal casters looking to create decorative brass pieces or sculptures will find that the lost wax casting technique will meet their needs far better than other techniques and methods.

Die casting is yet another method used for brass casting. Die casting is normally used in commercial foundries since the initial start up cost is undesirable for the smaller home foundries. By using a reusable mold created from steel, the caster will be able to create scores of identical products. Die casting with brass should be used if the caster or artists is planning to make multiples of one product and can find a viable market for those pieces.

Sand casting is probably the oldest type of casting and is still a popular method especially for small foundries. The brass is poured into sand molds and can create a unique look which may be preferred for the artisans. Sand casting tends to be the most economically sensible for small foundries and if the casting does not have to be incredibly attractive then this method is preferable for many.

Whichever casting method is used for casting the brass really depends on the individual. Many find that casting brass to be fun and easy since it does melt rather easily. A large expensive furnace is not a requirement when casting brass so first timers using small home made furnaces will find this alloy attractive. Many have even been able to melt brass in small ceramic pots using charcoal!

Some ideas of what to make with brass include candle holders, plumbing fixtures, and even musical

 
 

Brass Knowledge Base

 
Copper Brass Alloy Specifications
Copper Brass Alloy Specifications
 
ALLOY SPECIFICATIONS

ALLOY DESCRIPTION AND
COMMERCIAL DESIGNATION

COPPER DEVELOPMENT
ASSOCIATION NUMBER

MAJOR ELEMENTS NOMINAL
PERCENTAGES COMPOSITION
ELECTROLYTIC TOUGH PITCH COPPER
CDA 110
CU 99.90
OXYGEN FREE COPPER
CDA 101
CU 99.99
OXYGEN FREE COPPER
CDA 102
CU 99.95
OXYGEN FREE SILVER BEARING COPPER
CDA 107
CU 99.95 AG .085
TELLURIUM BEARING COPPER
CDA C14500
CU 99.90 TE.40-.60
ZIRCONIUM COPPER
CDA C15000
CU 99.80 ZR .10-.20
CADMIUM COPPER
CDA C16200
CU REM CD .7-1.2  FE .02
BERYLLIUM COPPER ALLOY 165
CDA C17000
CU REM BE 1.60-1.79
BERYLLIUM COPPER ALLOY 25
CDA C17200
CU REM BE 1.80-2.00
LEADED BERYLLIUM COPPER ALLOY
CDA C17300
CU REM BE 1.80-2.00
PB .20-.60
LOW BERYLLIUM COPPER ALLOY
CDA C17410
CU REM BE .15-.50
CO .35-.60
BERYLLIUM COPPER ALLOY 10
CDA C17500
CU 99.5 BE .20-.70
CO 2.4-2.7
BERYLLIUM COPPER ALLOY 3 OR 14
CDA C17510
CU REM BE .20-.60
NI 1.4-2.2
GILDING BRONZE 95/5 ALLOY
CDA C21000
CU 94.0-96.0 ZN BAL
COMMERCIAL BRONZE 90/10 ALLOY
CDA C22000
CU 89.0-91.0 ZN BAL
RED BRASS 85/15 ALLOY
CDA C23000
CU 84.0-86.0 ZN BAL
LOW BRASS 80/20 ALLOY
CDA C24000
CU 78.5-81.5 ZN BAL
CARTRIDGE BRASS 70/30 ALLOY
CDA C26000
CU 68.5-71.5 ZN BAL
YELLOW BRASS 65/35 ALLOY
CDA C27000
CU 63.0-68.5 ZN BAL
HIGH LEADED BRASS 62%
CDA C35300
CU 60.0-63.0 PB 1.5-2.5
ZN BAL
FREE CUTTING BRASS LEADED 3% ALLOY
CDA C36000
CU 60.0-63.0 PB 2.5-3.7
FE .35 ZN BAL
TIN BRASS
CDA C43600
CU 80.0-83.0 SN .2-.5
ZN BAL
NICKEL ALLOY 200
N02200
NI 99.2 NOM
NICKEL ALLOY 205
N02205
NI 99.6 NOM
MONEL 400
N04400
NI 63.0-70.00 FE 2.5
MN 2.0 SI .5 CU BAL
52 ALLOY CONTROLLED EXPANSION
ALLOY 52
NI 52 FE BAL
KOVAR CONTROLLED EXPANSION ALLOY
KOVAR
NI 29 CO 17 FE BAL
PHOSPHOR BRONZE 1.8% ALLOY
CDA C50700
CU REM SN 1.5-2.0  P .30
PHOSPHOR BRONZE GRADE A 5% ALLOY
CDA C51000
CU REM SN 4.2-5.8
ZN .30 P .03-.35
PHOSPHOR BRONZE GRADE C 8% ALLOY
CDA C52100
CU REM SN 7.0-9.0
ZN .20 P .03-.35
PHOSPHOR BRONZE GRADE C 8% ALLOY
CDA C52100
CU REM SN 7.0-9.0
ZN .20 P .03-.35
LEADED BRONZE B-2
CDA C54400
CU REM SN 3.5-4.5  PB 3.5-4.5 ZN 1.5-4.5  P .01-.50
HIGH SILICON BRONZE A
CDA C65500
CU REM FE .8  MN .5-1.3 NI .6
SI 2.8-3.8 ZN 1.5
CUPRO NICKEL ALLOY 80/20
CDA C71000
CU REM FE 1.0 MN 1.0
NI 19.0-23.0 ZN 1.0
CUPRO NICKEL ALLOY 70/30
CDA C71500
CU REM FE 4.0-1.0 MN 1.0
NI 29.0-33.0 ZN 1.0
TIN-BEARING COPPER NICKEL 9-2
CDA C72500
CU REM NI 8.5-10.5 SN
1.8-2.8 FE .6 ZN .5 MN .2
NICKEL SILVER 72-18
CDA C73500
CU 70-73.5.0 MN .50  FE .25
NI 16.5-1950 ZN BAL
NICKEL SILVER 65-18
CDA C75200
CU 63.5-66.5 MN .5  FE .25
NI 16.5-19.5 ZN BAL
NICKEL SILVER 65-12
CDA C75700
CU 63.5-66.5 MN .5  FE .25
NI 11.0-13.0 ZN BAL
NICKEL SILVER 60-18
CDA C76400
CU 58.5-61.5 MN .5  FE .25
NI 16.5-19.5 ZN BAL
FINE SILVER
N/A
AG 99.9
STERLING SILVER

N/A

AG 92.5 CU BAL
COPPER CLADDED STEEL
C1005/C1006
40% CONDUCTIVITY
DUMET
42 ALLOY
22% COPPER CLADDED

  Brass Knowledge Base

   
Brasses
Brasses
  • Brasses contain Zinc as the principal alloying element.

  • Other alloying elements may also be present to impart advantageous properties. These elements include Iron, Aluminium, Nickel and Silicon.

  • Brasses are most commonly characterised by their free machining grades by which machining standards are set for all other metals.

  • Brasses can also have high corrosion resistance and high tensile strength. Some brasses are also suited to hot forging.

 
 
Brass Additives
Brass Additives
 

Adding Lead to a brass composition can result in a brass with the ability to be rapidly machined. It will also produce less tool wear. Adding Aluminium, Iron and Manganese to brass improves strength. Silicon additions improve wear resistance.
Brasses are divided into two classes and three families.

Brass Knowledge Base

 
Brass Classes
Brass Classes
       Brasses are divided into two classes. These are :
  •  The alpha alloys, with less than 37% Zinc. These alloys are ductile and can be cold worked.

  •  The alpha/beta or duplex alloys with 37-45% Zinc. These alloys have limited cold ductility and are typically harder and stronger.

 
Brass Knowledge Base

Brass Families
 
Brass Families
 
There are three main families of wrought alloy brasses :
 
  • Copper-Zinc alloys

  • Copper-Zinc-Lead alloys (Leaded brasses)
  • Copper-Zinc-Tin alloys (Tin brasses)
  •  
    Cast brass alloys can be broken into four main families :
     
  • Copper-Tin-Zinc alloys (red, semi-red and yellow brasses)

  • Manganese Bronze alloys (high strength yellow brasses) and Leaded Manganese Bronze alloys (leaded high strength       yellow brasses)

  • Copper-Zinc-Silicon alloys (Silicon brasses and bronzes)

  • Cast Copper-Bismuth and Copper-Bismuth-Selenium alloys.
  •   Brass Knowledge Base

     
    Bronzes
    Bronzes
      The term bronze originally described alloys with Tin as the only or principal alloying element.

    Modern day bronzes tend to be Copper alloys in which the major alloying element is not Nickel or Zinc.

    Bronzes can be further broken down into four families for both wrought and cast alloys.

      Brass Knowledge Base

     
    Bronze Families
    Bronze Families
      The wrought bronze alloy families are :
    • Copper-Tin-Phosphorus alloys (Phosphor Bronzes)
    • Copper-Tin-Lead-Phosphorus alloys (Leaded Phosphor Bronzes)
    • Copper-Aluminium alloys (Aluminium Bronzes)
    • Copper-Silicon alloys (Silicon Bronzes)
      The cast bronze alloy families are :
    • Copper-Tin alloys (Tin Bronzes)
    • Copper-Tin-Lead alloys (Leaded and high leaded Tin Bronzes)
    • Copper-Tin-Nickel alloys (nickel-tin bronzes)
    • Copper-Aluminium alloys (Aluminium Bronzes)

      Brass Knowledge Base

     
    Background
    Background
     

    Copper is the oldest metal used by man. Itís use dates back to prehistoric times. Copper has been mined for more than 10,000 years with a Copper pendant found in current day Iraq being dated to 8700BC. By 5000BC Copper was being smelted from simple Copper Oxides.
     

     

    Copper is found as native metal and in the minerals cuprite, malachite, azurite, chalcopyrite and bornite. It is also often a by-product of silver production. Sulphides, oxides and carbonates are the most important ores.
     

     

    Copper and Copper alloys are some of the most versatile engineering materials available. The combination of physical properties such as strength, conductivity, corrosion resistance, machinability and ductility make copper suitable for a wide range of applications. These properties can be further enhanced with variations in composition and manufacturing methods.

    Brass Knowledge Base
     
    Building Industry
    Building Industry
     
    The largest end use for Copper is in the building industry. Within the building industry the use of copper based materials is broad. Construction industry related applications for copper include:
    • Roofing
    • Cladding
    • Rainwater systems
    • Heating systems
    • Water pipes and fittings
    • Oil and gas lines
    • Electrical wiring
     

    The building industry is the largest single consumer of copper alloys. The following list is a breakdown of copper consumption by industry on an annual basis:

    • Building industry – 47%
    • Electronic products - 23%
    • Transportation - 10%
    • Consumer products - 11%
    • Industrial machinery - 9%
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    Commercial Compositions
    Commercial Compositions
     

    There are around 370 commercial compositions for copper alloys. The most common grade tends to be C12200 - the standard water tube grade of copper.World consumption of copper and copper alloys now exceeds 18 million tonnes per annum.

    Brass Knowledge Base
     
    Applications
    Applications
    • Power transmission lines
    • Architectural applications
    • Cooking utensils
    • Spark plugs
    • Electrical wiring, cables and busbars
    • High conductivity wires
    • Electrodes
    • Heat exchangers
    • Refrigeration tubing
    • Plumbing
    • Water-cooled copper crucibles
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