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 since copper is a metal. All elements found in nature categorized into three groups as metals, metalloids and nonmetals. Metals are very good conductors of heat and electricity and have a great significance for us as they have multiple uses in electronics and electrical appliances. They are also very important building and construction materials and used extensively in vehicles, aeroplanes, furniture and countless household items.
What is Copper?
Copper is a base metal, and we can find it naturally under the earth’s crust in the form of its oxides. When it is in its purest form, it is a soft and malleable metal. Also, it is reddish-orange in colour but, when oxidized, it becomes green. Moreover, it is a metal with high thermal and electrical conductivity. And, it is malleable and ductile. Besides, human beings, plants, and animals have little amount of copper in their bodies.
Human beings have known this metal for thousands of years, and it is still useful. In modern times, copper has extensive use in the electrical industry because of its excellent physical properties of thermal and electrical conductivity. Also, as it is malleable and ductile, it is perfect for making wires.
What is Brass?
Brass is an alloy of copper. An alloy is a mixture of two or more metals and other compounds. We produce alloys to get desirable and enhanced properties than the pure metal. Since ancient times, copper is being 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. Since it is a mix of zinc and copper, brass has gold like colour and looks precious. It is why this alloy is useful in making decorative items and handles and knobs of doors.
Zips that we use in jeans and trousers also are made from brass. It also has many uses in making musical equipment and also useful in making locks, valves, and ammunition and plumbing materials. In ancient times, brass was used to make huge decorative mirrors and frames of pictures.
Furthermore, the amounts of copper and zinc in brass can vary according to the type of brass. When there is a high content of copper, the colour of brass goes from yellow to orange. Moreover, this alloy is costlier than copper and we can use it for decorative household items while copper has a heavy use in the electrical industry. Though it is an alloy of copper, brass has altogether different physical and chemical properties. It is because of the addition of zinc to it.
What is the Difference Between Copper and Brass?
Copper is a base metal that we can find naturally under the earth’s crust in the form of its oxides. Brass is an alloy of copper. Therefore, the key difference between copper and brass is that copper is a base metal and is a very good conductor of heat and electricity while brass is an alloy of copper made by adding zinc to copper.
Furthermore, copper has a rustic finish while brass has a lighter finish. Also, as an important difference between copper and brass, we can say that copper has good resistance towards corrosion whereas brass also has a good corrosion resistance but not towards salty water.
The following table looks at the difference between copper and brass in more detail.
Summary – Copper vs Brass
Copper is a metal and brass is an alloy; hence we can say that the key difference between copper and brass is that 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.