In their purest forms, brass is slightly harder than aluminum.
However, aluminum can include additives so that it is the same strength as brass.
This means that the purity of the metal will determine which one is outright stronger.
Of course, there is a lot of information to know concerning the hardness of brass and aluminum.
Keep reading for a full picture of the hardness of these metals.
Is Brass Harder Than Aluminum? (Explained)
To understand the hardness differences between brass and aluminum, it’s important to understand each metal in its purest forms.
Here is a look at each one individually.
Brass is a combination of copper and zinc.
It is a favorite metal for decorative objects because it resembles gold, is malleable, and is durable.
It is also a favorite for engineered components and instruments for these reasons.
The biggest downside of brass is that oxidation causes it to have a black tarnish.
As a result, brass must be polished and kept up in order to retain its attractive finish.
If not, it will get doled down, which is why antique brass looks different from new brass.
Aluminum is a very soft and malleable metal.
It is frequently used in sheets and plaques because it is lightweight and malleable.
It is often used in airplane parts as well because of its lightweight.
Despite being lightweight, aluminum is very strong for its weight.
The downside to aluminum is that it can be easily scratched or dented.
To avoid this, other metals are mixed into the aluminum, creating an aluminum alloy that is much stronger than pure aluminum.
The alloy will still retain the malleability and lightweight of pure aluminum.
Brass vs Aluminum: Hardness Explained
When wondering whether brass or aluminum is harder, you have to look at the Mohs scale.
The Mohs scale systematically ranks the hardness of different materials.
It is most frequently used to measure the hardness of gemstones, but it is used to measure the hardness of metals as well.
The Mohs scale ranks substances from 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest.
Diamonds, for example, have a 10 on the Mohs scale rating.
Plastic and lead, in comparison, have a hardness grade of 1 because of how soft they are.
Is Brass or Aluminum Harder?
In order to determine whether brass or aluminum is harder, you have to look at their Mohs scale grade.
When dealing with pure brass and aluminum, brass is harder.
Brass has a Mohs scale grade of 3. Meanwhile, aluminum has a grade around 2.5.
This makes brass just slightly harder than aluminum.
As we mentioned above, aluminum can be mixed with other metals to create a harder substance.
Often, this alloyed aluminum has a Mohs grade of 3, making it equal to brass in hardness.
Even with alloyed aluminum, the two metals will have different appearances and aluminum will be lighter.
What this means is that pure aluminum is softer than brass, but aluminum can be mixed with other metals to have the same hardness as brass.
Why Hardness Matters for Brass and Aluminum
The difference between 2.5 and 3 might not seem like a lot, but it gives you valuable information about how tough the metals are.
You will want to carefully select the metal type based on the job it needs to serve.
Just the small difference between brass and aluminum can make a big difference in durability.
For example, items that are frequently touched will get worn down over time.
It’s an inevitable fact.
Especially if fingernails and other sharp objects rub against the material, just a touch or two can render the object damaged or ugly.
Consequently, select brass if you are dealing with an object that will be touched frequently.
Cabinet handles and lamps, for instance, are two examples of objects that are better off with brass instead of aluminum.
The little extra durability from brass will help the object to retain its final appearance.
If you still want to use aluminum, that’s fine.
However, you want to make sure that you are using it on objects that will not frequently be scratched or broken down.
You might also want to consider selecting an aluminum alloy so that it is slightly stronger than pure aluminum.
Aluminum will especially be a good option if you need a lighter material.
Ultimately, it’s important to know the hardness differences between brass and aluminum so that you can select the best material for the job at hand.
When you’re dealing with brass and pure aluminum, brass is the harder of the two, though not by much.
If you are dealing with alloyed aluminum, the hardness is about the same.
Knowing the differences between brass and aluminum can help you pick the best metal for the task at hand.
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