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A Comparison Between Brass, Bronze and Copper


Copper is one of the most common metallic elements found in the Earth's crust in its oxide form. In contrast, both brass and bronze are metallic elements but do not occur naturally in the Earth's crust.


Both brass metal and bronze metal are alloys of copper metal obtained by adding different metallic elements to copper. Because both brass vs bronze contain copper as the base metallic element, brasses and bronzes have characteristics similar to copper, which is why people commonly mistake brass and bronze for copper.


As brass vs bronze vs copper are three different materials and have their own distinctive features, advantages, and disadvantages. In this article we will explain to you all the basic differences between brass vs bronze vs copper so that you can better understand how brass metal, bronze metal and copper metal have different metallic elements.

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Composition of Material

Copper is the only naturally occurring metallic element among brass and copper, while both brass vs bronze are alloys of copper. Copper metal occurs naturally in its oxide form, while brass is made by adding zinc to copper, similarly, browns are made by adding tin to copper.


Naturally occurring copper contains very small amounts of various metallic elements and impurities which are removed from the copper by various factors. On top of that, if 60% copper and 40% zinc are mixed together, what we will get will be called brass. 


Similarly, if 90% copper is mixed with 10% tin and a very small amount of aluminum, then what we get will be called bronze metal.


Material appearance

Due to the different material composition, copper vs brass and bronze all three have different material appearance.

Copper naturally has a reddish-orange material appearance, unlike brass and bronze which do not occur naturally, so their material properties depend on the amount and type of alloying element.


Generally, the material appearance of the brass is yellowish golden in color while the material appearance of the bronze is of a reddish brown type. Because the material appearance of all three materials is very different from one another, it is easy to identify them by their color.

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Material Density

Material density is called mass per unit volume, that is, how much mass of any material can be contained in one cubic meter of volume.


In this sense, copper is the densest material among bronze vs brass and copper. The density of copper is 8960 kg per meter cube. Next in weight to copper is bronze metal, which has a density of 8800 kg in cubic meters. Brass It is the lightest material among bronze and copper and has a density of 8720 kg/m3.


Strength of Materials

The strength of a material is measured in terms of tensile strength or yield strength. Tensile strength is also commonly referred to as the ultimate tensile strength and is the maximum strength of a material beyond which it will fracture.


Similarly, yield strength is the strength of the material after which permanent deformation begins to occur in the material. Considering the strength of the material, copper metal is a weaker material than the other two materials i.e. its strength is less than both the materials.


Bronze is the strongest of the three materials and is therefore used in high strength and high stress applications. Brass metal has lower strength than copper and is used in low strength applications.


Material Hardness

Material hardness refers to the property of a material that resists denting, material hardness also refers to the material's wear resistance. If we consider the Brinell hardness scale, copper is the least hard of the three materials and has a hardness of 39 on the Brinell hardness scale. 

Brass metal comes next after copper and has a hardness of 55 to 73 on the Bernal Horn scale. The hardest of the three materials is bronze metal and has a hardness of 40 to 420 on the Bernal-Harness scale.


Material Durability

Durability is the material ability to resist external and environmental factors over time.

If the durability of the material is taken into consideration. So bronze is the most durable of the three materials.

Copper follows  bronze vs Brass followed by Copper. The durability of brass is less than that of copper because it is harder to work on the material due to its hardness.


Material Corrosion Resistance

A material's corrosion resistance is the property of a material that resists its reaction with oxygen and moisture present in the environment. Material corrosion resistance is of critical importance, especially in applications where the material is exposed to the open atmosphere and moisture.


Among brass vs bronze vs copper, bronze has the highest material corrosion resistance. The high corrosion resistance of bronze is due to the presence of copper and tin material in it. Similarly, the corrosion resistance of copper is much better and it is slightly lower than bronze but slightly higher than brass.

 

Therefore, out of the three materials, Bronze metal has the highest corrosion resistance followed by copper and brass at the end. One of the reasons why bronze has such a high corrosion resistance is the material's ability to react with air and moisture on its top surface to form a protective corrosion layer.

 

This layer continues to protect the remaining brown material from corrosion. Similarly, the high corrosion resistance of copper material is also due to its ability to form oxides. 


As the copper metal is exposed to the corrosive environment, the top surface of the material reacts with air and moisture to form a corrosive material layer that protects the underlying copper material from moisture and air so that it does not react with oxygen and moisture.



Material Conductivity

Material Conductivity refers to the electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity of a material. Electrical conductivity is the property of a material that gives it the ability to conduct electricity through itself, similarly thermal conductivity is the property of a material that gives it the ability to conduct heat through itself or resist it.


Whether you want high conductivity or low conductivity from the material depends on the application of your material, what product you want to make the material into or how you want to use it.

 

Among bronze, brass vs copper, copper has the highest electrical conductivity. The electrical conductivity of pure copper is said to be 100%. After that, the electrical conductivity of mirror brass is only 28%, while the electrical conductivity of bronze is only 15%.


In contrast, the thermal conductivity of bronze metal is the highest, while the thermal conductivity of copper is slightly lower than that of bronze but significantly higher than that of brass. 


So when it comes to thermal conductivity, the thermal conductivity of bronze is the highest followed by copper and at the end the thermal conductivity of brass metal.


Manufacturing Ability of The Material

The manufacturability of a material refers to putting that material through one of the manufacturing processes and see, how easy or difficult it is to get a physical product from the raw material by copper deep drawing and brass manufacturing. Good manufacturability of materials is very important for making any product


Sheet metal custom fabrication include a variety of manufacturing processes such as metal banding, sheet metal cutting services, etc. If the manufacturability of the material is taken into consideration, the manufacturability of copper material is much better than other brass vs bronze.


Copper is followed by bronze and its manufacturing ability is slightly lower than that of copper but much better than that of brass. The material brass is the most difficult material in terms of brass metal stamping.

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Material Machinability

Machining is the most widely used process in the world of manufacturing, so when materials are discussed, their machining is discussed separately. Machinability of a material refers to how easy or difficult it is to machine the material through a subtractive process.


In terms of machinability of the material, copper is the most easily machinable material followed by bronze and brass at the end. Because copper is the softest of the three materials, it is the easiest to machine, followed by bronze vs brass, as brass is very difficult to bend and is not very flexible.


Material Weldability

Sheet metal welding services are the second largest process used with machining in the manufacturing world, which is why whenever manufacturing of materials is discussed, their weldability is discussed separately.


Material weldability refers to how easy or difficult it is to weld or whether it is possible to weld it.


   


All three materials, bronze, brass vs copper are very difficult to weld, because all three are soft materials and have a very low melting point. So the common welding procedure that can be used to weld steel cannot be used to weld brass, bronze, and copper.


Special procedures are used for joining all three materials. Of the three materials, copper is the easiest to weld. Two special procedures are used for its welding, which are called TIG and MIG welding. Copper can only be welded by these two procedures.


Few alloys of brass metal can be welded using TIG and MIG welding, but most brass alloys are soldered because the melting point of brass is lower, so its welding is difficult.


Similarly, special preparation is necessary for welding bronze metal. The procedure most commonly used to join brass and bronze plates together is called brazing.


Last Words

Copper and its alloys are one of the most widely used materials in the world. Of these three materials, copper is the only naturally occurring material. 


The other two, brass and bronze, are called engineered materials because these materials do not occur naturally and are manufactured in a lab.


Both bronze and brass are alloys of copper and they both contain different types of materials that make them have some properties better than copper and some worse than copper.


                   

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