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General information about brass

Technical Characteristics

Brass is an alloy based on copper and zinc (which in an alloy can be from 4% to 50%). The alloy has been known since before our era. Until the end of XVIII century this alloy was obtained by melting copper and zinc ore, which was mixed with charcoal. Only in the 19th century was this method replaced by the direct method of smelting copper and zinc. Thanks to the strength, ductility, corrosion resistance, ease of processing under pressure when cold and hot, the comparative cheapness and attractive aesthetic appearance, brass became the most common copper alloy. This alloy is used to produce sheets, rods, strips, wire (in deformable grades), pipes and castings (in foundry grades). The color of brass varies from light yellow to reddish, depending on its zinc content.

Brass Types

Plain brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. If the alloy contains less than 10% Zn, it is called tompak, and with a zinc content of 10 to 20% - semitompak. Such alloys, which are highly ductile and corrosion-resistant, are used in the production of condenser and radiator tubes, ribbon, sheets for steel cladding. Brass, which contains about 30% zinc, has the ability to deep-draw, it is called cartridge. This alloy is widely used in the manufacture of products by pressing, drawing, and cold stamping.

The main additives

To improve the anti-corrosion, mechanical and other properties of brass, they add to double copper alloys with zinc - tin, aluminum, iron, silicon, nickel, manganese, lead and other elements (in total up to 10%). Multicomponent (or special) brass is aluminum, silicon, aluminum-nickel, iron-manganese , etc. The alloy, containing about 0.5% of aluminum and 15% of zinc, is highly resistant to atmospheric corrosion and has a golden color. This brass alloy is used as a gold substitute for artwork and insignia. Brass with up to 1.5% lead (also called marine brass) is highly corrosion resistant even in sea water, and up to 3% lead makes the chips brittle and produces a high surface finish when being cut. Leaded brass (also called clock brass) is used in the watchmaking and automotive industries.


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