Brass

  • Brass is a metal alloy made of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.
  • It is a substitutional alloy: atoms of the two constituents may replace each other within the same crystal structure.
  • By comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin. However, bronze and brass may also include small proportions of a range of other elements including arsenic, phosphorus, aluminium, manganese, and silicon.
  • Brass is used for decoration for its bright gold-like appearance; for applications where low friction is required such as locks, gears, bearings, doorknobs, ammunition casings and valves; for plumbing and electrical applications; and extensively in brass musical instruments such as horns and bells where a combination of high workability (historically with hand tools) and durability is desired. It is also used in zippers.
  • Brass is often used in situations in which it is important that sparks not be struck, such as in fittings and tools used near flammable or explosive materials.