Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Brass vs. Copper: Which Is Stronger? | Atlas Bronze




















We manufacture metal components for a variety of uses, so we often work with our customers to help them decide which type of material is best for their particular application. Sometimes the goal is to find a metal alloy that offers the best resistance to corrosion; other times our customers are looking for a particular color or conductivity.

One of the most common qualities our clients are after, though, is strength—they want the strongest possible metal for the best durability. If you’re deciding between copper and brass, the answer to the question “which is stronger?” is a bit complicated. Here’s why.

What Is Brass?


To understand whether copper or brass is stronger, it’s important to remember that brass is actually made of copper. Brass is not an elemental metal—you can’t mine it, you can only create it. In its most basic form, brass is made with copper and varying amounts of zinc. Other elements, like lead, tin, aluminum, manganese, and iron, can be added as well to give brass different characteristics and colors. At the highest strength, brasses have the highest levels of zinc—typically at least 39 percent.

(Here’s an article on how brass is made if you’re curious.)

What Is Copper?


What is the difference between copper and brass? Unlike brass, copper is an elemental metal. That said, when used for industrial and commercial purposes, copper is usually alloyed with other metals to enhance or change its natural qualities. Copper is often chosen because it is antibacterial, provides good thermal and electrical conductivity, is strong enough for many applications, and resists corrosion.

Copper and copper alloys are commonly used for jewelry and sculpture, but because of its conductivity, one of the most popular uses of copper is in electrical components. Copper is also used in construction and architecture, plumbing, and heat exchangers.

Answering the Question: Which Is Stronger, Brass vs. Copper?


Is brass stronger than copper? Because brass is an alloy and copper too is often used in alloyed form, it’s more appropriate to compare specific alloys, as different compositions have different characteristics, including strength. That said, generally speaking, brass is stronger than elemental copper, but copper is less vulnerable to stress cracking.

This brings up another interesting question: how do you define strong? If you’re looking for the hardest material, that’s very different from the material that has the best ability to bend without breaking—in fact, these are opposite qualities, but you may consider both to be strength. The advantage of working with Atlas Bronze is that we’re metal experts. We’ll listen to what you’re looking for, take the time to learn about your application, and then help you understand the qualities you need in a metal and which of our alloys meet these specifications.

Learn More About Copper and Brass


Are you deciding between copper, brass, or another alloy for your application? Do you need help understanding the differences between these options? Our team is here to help you with all of your purchasing decisions. Contact us at 1-800-478-0887 to speak with one of our experts and get started.

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