Many industries require the use of brass alloys in one way or another. The shipping, construction and design industries all appreciate the qualities of the metal. As a copper-zinc alloy, the zinc gives the metal strength and creates an anti-corrosive, aesthetically pleasing product. Small percentages of other metals are included to create each alloy.
You may be wondering if your business should branch out into using different kinds of brass alloy in your projects. There is some background you’ll need to know about the properties of these materials before selecting a product with your supplier.
Engraving brass adds a 1% or 2% lead ratio into the alloy. This lowers the melting point of the metal and increases its malleability. Engraving brass is often used in plaques, trims and when there is a need for a stamp or product information to be printed onto a product.
Your business may benefit from using engraving brass to authenticate your brass products or if you work with small mechanical items, such as clocks and watches.
If you’re an artisan, gilding metal can be particularly useful. It differs from other alloys in that it contains much more copper than zinc—a 95:5 percentage ratio, rather than 60:40.
Gilding metal is soft and can easily be hammered into shapes for sculptural and jewelry pieces. It’s also very beautiful and is usually a deep copper color. Many artisans choose to use either gilding metal or pure copper in their pieces for this reason. Gilding metal and other brass alloys can be bought in a range of shapes and thicknesses, including sheets, bars and brass tubing.
Arsenical brass and other alloys, such as naval brass and Muntz metal, are commonly used in the shipping industry. The inclusion of around 0.03% arsenic improves corrosion resistance in water, though naval brass and Muntz metal achieve this with the inclusion of zinc and iron in their alloys.
If you’re creating products that will be submerged in water, and you’re concerned about the material breaking down over time, these anti-microbial and corrosion-resistant alloys are safe options for you.
Regardless of the type of brass alloy you pursue, speak to a trusted brass supplier about what type and style of product will best suit your particular project.
Brass Alloys and Their Applications, TheBalance.com
Brass Alloys, ThoughtCo.com