Difference Between Copper and Brass

Copper vs Brass

Copper and brass are different in the sense one is a metal and the other is an alloy. To find out the difference between copper and brass, we first need to know a bit about metals as copper is a metal. All elements found in nature are classified into metals and non metals. Metals are elements that are very good conductors of heat and electricity and thus have great significance for us as they find multiple uses in electronics and electrical appliances. They are very important building and construction materials and used extensively in vehicles, airplanes, furniture and countless household items.

Metals are found below the surface of the earth and have to be mined. Most of the metals are found in the form of their ores which may be their oxides. Some of the metals are precious metals such as gold and silver that are used for making jewelry and used as a means of investment for future. Some of the other important metals are copper, tin, platinum, iron, aluminum, mercury, magnesium and lead.

Copper classifies as a base metal as it oxidizes and is naturally found under the earth’s crust in the form of its oxides. It is a metal with high thermal and electrical conductivity. When copper is in its purest form, it is a soft and malleable metal. Even human beings and plants and animals have little amounts of copper inside their bodies. Copper is known to mankind since thousands of years and it is used as a building material. In modern times, copper finds extensive use in electrical industry because of its excellent physical properties of thermal and electrical conductivity. Copper is reddish orange in color but becomes green when it gets oxidized.

Since ancient times, copper has been used to make different kinds of alloys by mixing other substances with it. Brass is a classic example of an alloy of copper and zinc. Because of mixing of zinc with copper, brass has gold like color and looks precious. This is why it is used for making decorative items and handles and knobs of doors. Zips used in jeans and trousers are made from brass. It is widely used in making musical equipments and also used to make locks, valves, and ammunition and plumbing materials. In ancient times, brass was used to make huge decorative mirrors and frames of pictures.

The amounts of copper and zinc can be varied to make different types of brass. When copper is more the color of brass goes from yellow to orange. Brass is costlier than copper and used for decorative household items while copper finds heavy use in electrical industry. Copper is malleable and also ductile allowing for making wires.

Though it is an alloy of copper, brass has altogether different physical and chemical properties. This is because of the addition of zinc in it.


Copper is a base metal which is a very good conductor of heat and electricity while brass is an alloy of copper made by adding zinc to copper.

Copper is mainly used in electrical industry because of its conductivity while brass is used more as a decorative substance. Brass finds heavy use in music equipment as it produces sounds of high pitch.