Copper, Brass and Bronze, otherwise known as the “Red Metals”, may look the
same initially but are actually quite different.
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu
(from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29, A freshly exposed surface of pure
copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used in a wide range of products
due to its excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, good strength, good
formability and resistance to corrosion. Pipe and pipe fittings are commonly
manufactured from these metals due to their corrosion resistance.
One of the most important properties of copper is its ability to fight
bacteria. After extensive antimicrobial testing by the Environmental Protection
Agency, it was found that 355 copper alloys, including many brasses, were found
to kill more than 99.9% of bacteria within two hours of contact. Normal
tarnishing was found not to impair antimicrobial effectiveness.
Copper was one of the earliest
metals discovered. The Greeks and Romans made it into tools or adornments, and
there are even historical details showing the application of copper to sterilize
wounds and purify drinking water. Today it is most commonly found in electrical
materials such as wiring because of its ability to effectively conduct
Brass is mainly an alloy that consists of copper
with zinc added. Brasses can have varying amounts of zinc or other elements
added. Brass can range in color from red to yellow depending on the amount of
zinc added to the alloy.
If the zinc content of the brass ranges from 32% to 39%, it will have
increased hot-working abilities but the cold-working will be limited.
brass contains over 39% zinc (example – Muntz Metal), it will have a higher
strength and lower ductility (at room temperature).
Brass is commonly used for
decorative purposes primarily because of its resemblance to gold. It is also a
commonly used to make musical instruments due to its high workability and