Brass is an “alloy metal.”
Read on, and we’ll explain more.
Is Brass a Metal? (EXPLAINED)
Brass combines copper and zinc to form a non-ferrous alloy metal.
The term alloy refers to a mixture or blend of a metal and element or two metals.
Because brass isn’t ferromagnetic, it makes it simpler to separate it from other alloys and metals during the recycling process.
How Materials Get Classified
Science and engineering classifies materials into four main categories.
Sub-classifications within these also exist, but the four major categories include:
Each material also gets classified by its electron configuration and chemical elements, then placed in order on the periodic table.
This tabulation makes it easy to discern at a glance which elements qualify as metals, and which qualify as non-metals.
Metals appear on the left side, while non-metals go on the right side of the periodic table.
A metal element by itself is called a metal, but when two metals or alloys or a metal and an alloy get blended together that becomes an alloy.
Ferrous metals are rich in iron.
Iron such as cast iron wrought iron, steel is the main constituents in ferrous metals.
Ferrous metals are magnetic and capable of little resistance to the corrosion too.
Examples for ferrous metals are cast iron, carbon steels, alloy steels, stainless steels, tool steels and die steels.
These metals are lightweight, conduct well, and resist corrosion. They are also (mostly) non-magnetic.
These metals don’t have the iron as the composition.
Some amount of iron will be added in some of the Non-ferrous metals but it is not a considerable amount.
Example: aluminium, copper, lead, nickel, tin, titanium and zinc.
Some of the Non-ferrous alloys such as brass, gold, silver and platinum.
Cobalt, mercury, tungsten, beryllium, cadmium, tellurium, gallium, selenium, vanadium, and zirconium are on the list of the known non-ferrous metals.
Non-Metals refer to the chemical elements which are volatile, insulated to heat/electricity and do not possess the well-known metallic attributes.
Most of the non-metals are gasses. In the periodic table, they are represented under Polyatomic nonmetal, Diatomic non-metal, Noble gases. carbon, phosphorus, sulfur, selenium, and iodine are the solid non-metals.
Non-metals are further classified into the following groups.
Part One Of Brass: Copper
The first of the two portions of this alloy, the mineral copper, appears in some foods naturally.
You can purchase it as a dietary supplement.
This malleable and soft metal conducts electricity well, but not as well as gold.
It also exhibits high thermal properties.
For this reason, it gets used as an electricity and heat conductor. Pure copper appears pinkish-orange in color.
Part Two Of Brass: Zinc
Zinc, the other half of the alloy, a common nutrient in humans, contributes to your health by helping with wound healing and the human senses of smell and taste.
You eat this often in cereals and other typical foods.
Zinc, a somewhat brittle metal breaks and chips at room temperature.
This silvery-greyish nutrient loses its color when removed from oxidation.
What Happens When You Combine Zinc and Copper
Most brass appears bright gold in appearance, but it can also appear silvery-white in color, called nickel brass, or reddish-gold, called copper plated brass.
A higher percentage of copper yields a rosy tone, while more zinc makes the alloy appear silver.
It has a higher malleability than zinc or bronze.
This isn’t surprising since zinc comprises half of brass.
This trait makes it easy to cast in molds.
You may have read that some of the instruments in an orchestra get referred to as brass instruments.
That is because the instruments in the brass section actually get forged from brass.
(Conversely, the woodwinds often get carved from wood.)
Brass provides acoustic properties that make it an ideal sound conductor.
By combining copper and zinc, brass exhibits low friction.
This is one of the reasons it works well in electronics.
It also exhibits little chance of sparking, so it doesn’t present a fire hazard.
Since brass inherits copper’s low melting point, it does well in heat.
This also provides another reason it does well in electronics as is its corrosion resistance properties.
It can even resist saltwater’s galvanic corrosion
More on Brass
Due to brass’s unique properties, it is one of the most widely used alloys.
Because of its versatility, there are seemingly endless industries and products making use of this alloy.
When making brass, the manufacturer can vary the composition of the brass alloy.
For this reason, not all brass looks the same.
Some include less zinc, while others increase its content.
From copper it inherits antibacterial properties.
Brass provides a notoriously poor breeding ground for bacteria.
That’s why you see it used so often in doorknobs and bathroom fixtures.
It also goes into many medical applications.
You can add to its inherent antibacterial nature by cleaning it with antibacterial agents.
See also: Can Brass Scratch Glass? and Is Brass Harder Than Aluminum?