Can Brass Scratch Glass? (ANSWERED)

Can brass scratch glass? No, it cannot.

In the article that follows, you’ll learn more about glass and brass, as well as why it is that brass cannot scratch glass.

Can Brass Scratch Glass? (ANSWERED)

While a number of metals can definitely scratch or leave an impression on glass, brass is not one of them.

That is because the metal is far softer than others like steel or iron.

Hardness of rocks, minerals and surfaces tends to be measured on what is known as the Mohs scale.

Diamond is the hardest substance, with a score of ten.

Glass, on the other hand, scores in the middle with a 5.5.

A steel knife can scratch glass but barely, with a hardness score of 6.5.

Brass, however, is nowhere close to that density, and it only scores something between 3 or 4 on the Mohs scale.

As a result, the yellowish metal won’t make a scratch.

It can still break glass, though, on impact when hit hard enough.

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The Fabrication of Brass

Unlike iron or other metals found in the earth, brass is a fabricated metal made by humans.

Technically speaking, it involves creating an alloy of copper with zinc.

There are a few other metals thrown in which can range from lead to tin.

Generally, these tend to give it a bit more strength in the mix.

Interestingly, brass doesn’t include iron, which makes it non-magnetic and non-ferrous.

In comparison to bronze, another man-made metal, brass, is softer, and melts with less heat effort (generally around 900 degrees Celsius).

Zinc is often mixed in with differing amounts, depending on how much conductivity is needed in the brass product.

The more zinc, and the more the end product will be able to pass electricity without resistance.

Copper tends to be mixed in to change the color of the brass.

A heavy copper ingredient, usually in the range of 85 percent, is going to produce a very red-like brass that is dark and vivid.

A leaner copper mix, around the 60 percent range, will come out far lighter, maybe even a bit pale in comparison.

Fabrication and Uses of Brass

Brass has been around since the very early start of civilized humanity when it became apparent that metal ores could be melted and molded into tools, jewelry, forms and parts.

The earliest brass artifacts reach back to 500 CE, at the late end of the Greek era and before the Romans.

A key factor discovered about brass was that it did not oxidize when exposed to water.

That made the metal ideal for being used as a liquid container as well as for parts involving early plumbing.

In fact, brass and copper are still used today in modern plumbing again because they are soft, easy to bend and shape, and they don’t corrode easily.

Copper and other elements that are used in brass are well-known.

Copper was one of the first metals that early peoples could melt at low temperature and turn into tools.

That was after a few centuries of hammering metal ores into rough tools using simple pressure and impact.

Bronze showed up about 3000 BCE, so by the time brass was being figured out, people were very refined in their use of bronze and similar.

Tin and zinc were also in frequent availability as well, so it was just a matter of time before smiths and crafters figured out how to mix them into alloys.

Sometimes it happened by accident and then, more and more, by intent.

It was closer to the turn of the millennium, at 20 BCE, that brass coins began to appear because metalsmiths had reached a point of refinement with zinc and copper.

The results allowed people to create smaller, more detailed products with casting and details that wasn’t so doable in previous centuries.

It was also a helpful currency addition as gold and silver started to become a bit too cumbersome to be walking around with just to make small purchases.

Different levels of economy were in full swing, separating the poor from the middle class to the rich and aristocratic by this point.

While the Dark Ages after the fall of Rome stopped a lot of technology, brass showed up again three centuries into the common era in northern Europe, particularly with metalworking again.

However, things didn’t get too advanced until about the 18th century, when scientists realized exactly how zinc and copper worked.

Then, brass was combined gunpowder and bullets, and the world changed again.

Brass became such a usable metal as a bullet casing, it revolutionized war after the 1850s.

Gone was the musket ball and suddenly bullets could be produced by the boxloads. Brass was ideal for rifles because as it heated, it expanded, making the bullet casing maximize the pressure inside the barrel.

The same design ultimately led to the creation of the machine gun and the belt-driven bullet load mechanisms.

Non-Military Use

Again, brass has been instrumental in plumbing, waterworks and container usage. Housewares in the 18th and 19th centuries were heavily spotted with brass tools, vases, containers and fixtures.

Brass was and is today heavily used for door handles, keys, furniture adornment and similar.

It also has plenty of use in science labs as well as on ships for navigation (again because of its ability to resist corrosion in saltwater).

And, the most common heavy use of brass today tends to be in instruments.

Just about all wind instruments are made from brass, ranging from tubas to saxophones to trumpets.

Flutes are the odd exception many times.

Soft Qualities Make Brass Weak to Glass

Again, because brass is such a soft metal, it doesn’t stand a chance in scratching glass.

However, that same softness makes brass one of the most functional metals around, and it was clearly a primary resource for early technology because it could be formed into so many useful purposes that even occur today.

Learn more about whether the following materials can scratch glass: coal, muscovite, galena.

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can brass scratch glass