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This are the types of brass

Brass is one of the most prized metals in industry, obtained from the alloy of copper and zinc, which, depending on the quantities of each metal, is obtained with different qualities. There are also other materials that can be present in the combination to adapt its qualities to a wide range of needs.


Properties and characteristics of brass

As we have already mentioned, this metal is highly valued thanks to its multiple properties. It has very interesting characteristics, which we will see by categories:

Mechanical properties

  1. Brass is perfect for surface treatments and cold deformations, thanks to its high percentage of copper.
  1. It is easily mouldable.
  1. It has excellent plasticity in hot stamping.
  1. It does not produce sparks on mechanical impact, and this is one of the most atypical properties in an alloy.

Physical properties

  1. Brass has excellent thermal conductivity, as well as great welding properties.
  1. It also has good electrical conductivity.
  1. It does not degrade even at temperatures between -100°C and -200°C and is not degraded by light.

Chemical properties

  1. Its resistance to corrosion, even in saline environments, makes it ideal for fluid handling and marine applications.
  1. One of the most important properties is that it is 100% recyclable without losing its singularities, being able to melt as many as necessary.

Types of brass

Brass is classified according to the amount of zinc contained in the alloy:

  • First grade brasses, with a zinc content of less than 34%.
  • Second grade brasses, with a percentage of zinc between 33 and 44%.
  • Third grade brasses, with a percentage higher than 42%, with hardly any industrial applications.

Another way of dividing the brasses can be:

Common brasses

This is the most typical brass and the one you can find in everyday life. It is composed of 37% zinc and is cold worked.

Alpha brasses

There are several types of alpha brass:

  • Alpha brass with less than 35% zinc, which can be forged, rolled and pressed.
  • Alpha brass used in jewellery, with 15% zinc.
  • Brass with 20% zinc, which can be easily made into wire and is most commonly used in metal hoses due to its flexibility.

Alpha-beta brasses

This type consists of two stages: alpha, in which the metal has the same properties as the brasses mentioned above, and a harder, stronger beta stage. The amount of zinc will always be around 35/45% and can be worked at higher temperatures than alpha brass.

Beta brasses

These brasses have the highest percentage of zinc, between 45% and 50%. It is hot worked, so it is recommended for casting because it is stronger and harder. However, this type of brass is not widely used because with such high zinc it becomes very fragile, making it difficult to handle.

Applications of brass

The most common use of brass is in costume jewellery and decorative elements, thanks to its golden colour. However, the applications of brass cover the most diverse fields, from armament and welding to boilermaking, wire manufacturing, electrical terminals or coins.

It is highly resistant to corrosion by water, which is why it is also used in shipbuilding.

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