Brass: It’s Compositions and Uses

Brass, with its distinguishable gold-like appearance, is a commonly used metal in a wide range of industries. Most commonly, brass’ primary components are copper (67%) and zinc (33%), with lead often added (at 2%) to improve machinability. With its relatively low melting point, it is a soft metal, easy to cast, with higher malleability than zinc or bronze.

What Brass is Used For

Due to its acoustic properties, brass is the appropriate metal for use in musical instruments. Its attractive appearance has even led it to become a popular decorative material around the home, being seen in doorknobs, mirrors, clocks, ornaments, and mailboxes, among many other cosmetic applications.

From a more practical standpoint, brass plays an important role in many industries. Ship builders use brass in the manufacture of propellers, as it is a non-corrosive, easy to shape material that can be kept very smooth. As it is an inexpensive metal, it is a popular metal used in firearm ammunition, and is also popular as the metal used for keys.

As brass does not spark, it is the metal used where hammering may cause sparks. Among other industries, brass hammers are commonly used in the automotive, gas, and oil industries. As it is a soft metal, brass is a great conductor of electricity, and with the ability to conduct a wide range of signals, it is popularly used in electronic devices, most notably as contacts for speaker wires.

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