More than three-quarters of the periodic table of elements are metal. Unless you’re a chemistry professor, however, surely not all of them will sound familiar. Some are more popular than others because they are utilized for many different practical applications thanks to their unique properties. There are even those that can easily be combined with other elements and produce even more durable materials.
One good example is copper. It can be combined with almost all kinds of metal and produce outstanding alloys. The most popular copper alloys are bronze (copper-tin) and brass (copper-zinc). These metals are even more widely used than over half the family of metals. Here are some facts about bronze and brass that you need to know before you start considering them for your projects.
Density is the degree of compactness of a material. This property usually represents a bunch of other properties, such as malleability and strength. Brass has a density of 8.3 to 8.7 g/cm3, while bronze’s density starts at 7.5 g/cm3. This means in most cases, brass is more malleable and stronger than bronze. There are several factors that affect metal’s density, including content and alloying process. Although zinc is less dense than tin, it binds well with copper, making the resulting alloy (brass) more compact.
It would take 927 degrees Celsius of heat to melt brass, a little higher than bronze’s melting point of 913 degrees Celsius. It is important for metalworkers or suppliers to give out this information to the consumers as it helps in creating safety nets for their projects. This heat tolerance, however, is already higher than that of most metals, which is why bronze and brass are preferred for a lot of applications that involve heat.
Metal’s hardness is measured by its scratch resistance. Basically, a metal that is able to scratch another metal is the harder one. This easy yet effective qualitative ordinal scale was invented by German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs, hence the name. Both brass and bronze have a Moh’s hardness of 3, exceeding those of their base metals, copper, zinc, and tin. Of course, there are other minerals that are much harder than them, but this hardness rate can already do a lot in many applications.
Both bronze and brass are malleable metals. They can easily deform with pressure. To better understand their malleability, try to look into their crystal structure. Copper in its pure form is very malleable because there isn’t another element that prevents the atomic planes of its crystal structure from slipping. Adding atoms of zinc or tin will inhibit slippage, thus making copper stronger and harder, except it’s no longer just copper, but a new material called bronze or brass.
Learning all of these properties will help you choose the right metal for your project. It takes guidance from a true metal expert from reputable suppliers like Rotax Metals to find the best copper alloys. Whether you need a brass channel to complete your furniture project or a bronze wire for your circuitry work, you should not hesitate to consult with an expert supplier.
About Rotax Metals: Rotax Metals has been providing high-grade copper, brass, and bronze supplies to designers, builders, artisans, and even other metal suppliers in North America. We’ve been around since 1947. Our commitment to excellence has put us right over the top of the list of metal suppliers the consumers trust. Get in touch with us today and let us find the best solutions for your projects.
Material Density Data, repairengineering.com
The Mohs Scale of Hardness for Metals: Why It Is Important, jewelrynotes.com