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General information about brass

Brass is a non-ferrous metal. It is commonly referred to as a copper-zinc alloy. A striking characteristic of this material is its special colouring. This can vary, influenced by the respective alloy content of copper or zinc, from a golden red (high copper content) to a light-yellow tone (high zinc content).

An essential product characteristic of brass is its good corrosion resistance, which is due to the lack of an iron component. CuZn37, with a zinc content of 37 percent, is one of the most common brass forms. The alloy should have a minimum copper content (>50 percent) in order not to negatively influence the material properties.
In principle, the homogeneity of the material and the large number of possibilities for the addition of brass to the alloy should be emphasized. These characteristics allow a wide range of applications and processing.

How is brass produced?

Over the decades, brass production has changed from an unsteady to a stepless manufacturing process. A consistently automated process ensures high quality standards and efficient production.
Three basic elements can be assigned to brass production: the melting and casting process, cold and hot forming as well as other types of processing such as forging.

In the first step, copper and zinc are melted together and cast into a mould. Depending on the intended use and processing form, further metals are added in this process. This processing step is followed by either hot or cold forming. For hot forming, mainly caused by extrusion, a further alloying component (e.g. lead) must be added to the brass. This type of processing is used, for example, in the manufacture of rods, wires or tubes. Cold forming usually only requires a simple copper-zinc alloy. This type of processing makes it possible to increase the strength of the material, which would otherwise be characterized as soft. Cold forming is mainly used for the production of sheet metal or thin-walled tubes.

Where is brass used?

Brass is used in a variety of industries:

  • Construction
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Shipbuilding
  • Electrical engineering
  • Communications technology
  • Musical-instrument making
  • Interior finishing
  • Decorative purposes
  • Arts and crafts

What are the advantages of brass?

Brass has several positive properties as a material:

  • Corrosion resistant to fluid environmental factors
  • Good alloy properties for a wide range of applications
  • Multifaceted application possibilities through its special colouring depending on the type of alloy
  • Thermally conductive and easy to process
  • High degree of recyclability