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Difference Between Brass and Bronze

Brass vs Bronze

Both brass and bronze are copper alloys; solid solutions of copper and other alloying elements. Basically, brass and bronze can be differentiated based on the main alloying element. This differentiation causes distinct properties in these two alloys.

Brass

Brass is a copper- zinc alloy where the zinc content is up to around 45% of the weight. Tin, aluminum, silicon, manganese, nickel and lead can be added to brass as additional alloying elements. Desirable properties of brass can be acquired by varying the composition percentages. Because of outstanding castabilty and low cost, brass is the most common copper alloy. Zinc in brass makes it stronger and cheaper, but reduces the electrical conductivity and resistant to corrosion. In addition, changing the zinc percentage gives the variation of colour in brass. Because of the yellowish/golden colour of brass, they are used for decorative purposes. Malleability is one of the vital properties of brass. Because of this, brass can be thinned out to very fine foils. Malleability depends on the zinc content of brass. Brass with high zinc content is less malleable. In addition, the coefficient of friction of brass is low. This property makes brass suitable for low friction applications.

Bronze

Generally, bronze is considered as a copper- tin alloy. Also, copper aluminum alloys and copper silicon alloys are called bronze. Bronze can also be classified based on other alloying elements. Lead, Zinc, Phosphorous, Aluminum, Silicon, and Silver are the additional alloying elements. Bronze is more expensive than brass because the dominant alloying element in bronze is Tin. Tin increases strength, hardness, fluidity and corrosion resistance of bronze. Therefore, bronze is somewhat superior to brass in respect of these properties. Bronze is slightly less malleable than brass due to the presence of Tin.

What is the difference between Brass and Bronze?

These alloys are ductile, workable and have excellent electrical conductivity. Due to their high resistance to corrosion and good heat conductivity, they are used in heat exchangers, heating systems, automobile applications, pipes and fittings. The additional elements alloyed with copper reduce the melting point of the base metal, giving these alloys a good castability. Even though copper as a single metal has higher thermal and electrical conductivity than either brass or bronze, the strength of the material can be raised by alloying, without reducing ductility and workability. Sea water condenser systems, pipe works in chemical plants, automotive parts, marine applications, coins, medals, thermocouples, resistance wire, etc are some of the applications of brass and bronze. Brass consists of zinc as the main alloying element, and Tin or Aluminum or Silicon is the main alloying element of bronze. Based on this, these materials can be simply distinguished.

In summary,

Brass vs Bronze

• Brass is a copper zinc alloy; bronze is a copper tin or copper aluminium/silicon alloy.

• Brass is cheaper than bronze.

• Bronze is harder, stronger, more fluid and more resistant to corrosion than brass.

• Brass is more malleable than bronze.


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