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Brass Alloy

In Modern periodic table, elements are arranged in increasing order of their atomic number from left to right in certain number of periods and groups. Elements which are placed in same group exhibit same chemical properties whereas elements in same period exhibit a regular trend in their properties. If we observe the elements placed in groups and period, we will find that left side of table consists of metals whereas right side of table contains non-metals. 

The distinct line between metal and non-metal is line for metalloids which are elements with intermediate properties of metals and non-metals. Metals can be distinguished with their hardness and shiny surface. They are good conductor of heat and electricity. Due to presence of 1, 2 or 3 electrons in valence shell, they can easily lose their valence shell electrons to metal cations. Because of the presence of these free electrons, they are malleable and ductile in nature. Unlike metals, non-metals can exist in gas and liquid state also. They have tendency to accept electrons due to presence of 5, 6 or 7 electrons in their valence shell. Therefore they are insulators and bad conductor of heat also. Metalloids like silicon, germanium have intermediate properties as at a certain temperature they act as metal. Today metals are part of our everyday life in different ways and almost all industries are based on different metals such as iron, Cu etc. 


Brass Alloy Definition

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One of the most common uses of metals is as alloys. Alloys are mixture of metals in certain composition. Alloys exhibits unique physical and chemical properties which make them even more useful than metal. Addition of different metals in fix proportion enhances the hardness, malleability, electrical and thermal conductivity. Alloys can be mixture different non-metals with at least one metal element. This mixing improves the properties of constituent elements like strength and resistance to corrosion.

Overall alloys can be defined as the metallic compounds with one or more metals with non-metals in a fix proportion. For example steel is combination of iron with carbon here iron is metal and carbon is non-metal.  Another most common alloy is bronze which is formed by mixing of Cu metal with tin metal whereas brass is mixture of Cu metal with zinc. We know that metals have many important and useful properties such as good electrical conductivity, high strength, and hardness, or heat and corrosion resistance etc. Brass is a substitutional alloy which is used for decoration and antique items due to its bright gold-like appearance.

This alloy is used for applications with low friction like locks, gears, bearings, doorknobs, ammunition, and valves. It is also part of plumbing and electrical applications and musical instruments due to its acoustic properties. Since it is a soft alloy so it is also used to manufacture zippers and in fittings around explosive gases.

Brass Composition Percentages

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On the basis of percentage compositions, brass can be different types. Some of them are listed below. 

Brass  Percentage composition 
Admiralty brass  30% Zn and 1% Sn 
Aich's alloy  60.66% Cu, 36.58% Zn, 10.2% Sn and 1.74% Fe 
Alpha brass  Less than 35% Zn 
Prince's metal  75% Cu and 25% Zn also known as Prince Rupert's metal 
Alpha-beta brass  35-45% Zn, also called as Muntz metal or duplex  
Aluminum brass  With presence of Al
Arsenic Brass Contains an addition of As and Al
Beta brass  45–50% Zn content
Cartridge brass 30% Zn brass 
Common brass  37% Zn brass; also named as rivet brass 
DZR brass  With a small percentage of As 
Gilding metal 95% Cu and 5% Zn
High brass65% Cu and 35% Zn 
Leaded brass alpha-beta brass with Pb 
Low brassCu-Zn alloy with 20% Zn 
Manganese brass 70% Cu, 29% Zn, and 1.3% Mn 
Muntz metal 60% Cu, 40% Zn and a trace of Fe 
Naval brass 40% Zn and 1% tin 
Nickel brass 70% Cu, 24.5% Zn and 5.5% Ni 
Nordic gold89% Cu, 5% Al, 5% Zn, and 1% tin 
Red brass85% Cu, 5% Sn, 5% Pb, and 5% Zn 
Rich low brass  15% Zn; commonly known as Tombac 
Tonval brass Cu-Pb-Zn alloy; also called CW617N or CZ122 or OT58
White brass Containing more than 50% Zn 
Yellow brass 33% Zn brass 

Brass Alloy Properties

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The mixing of metals to form alloy improve the chemical and physical properties of metals which makes them more useful in different industries. For example steel is an alloy of iron which is stronger, lighter and more workable alloy than constituent metal. 

The malleability and acoustic properties of brass depends on the composition of alloy and also on the presence of different additives. It is malleable alloy with low melting point of brass with good flow character. The density is approximately 0.303 lb/cubic inch or 8400 to 8730 kg/m3 which vary from percentage composition of brass. It is a recyclable alloy that can be separated from ferrous scrap by passing the scrap near a powerful magnet due to anti-Ferromagenetic property. Because of presence of aluminum in brass, it becomes stronger with good corrosion resistant due to formation of layer of hard aluminium oxide (Al2O3). The addition of Fe, Al, Si and Mn provide good wear and tear resistant to brass. Similarly presence of lead enhances the machinability of brass due to low melting point of lead. 

Uses of Brass Alloy: 

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Alloy                 Composition and use 
Admiralty brass Used to inhibit dezincification 
Aich's alloy  Useful for marine applications 
Alpha brass Used in pressing and forging 
Prince's metal  Used to imitate gold 
Aluminum brass Used for seawater service and in Euro coins 
Arsenical brass Used for boiler fireboxes 
Beta brass  Suitable for casting 
Cartridge brass  Used for ammunition cases 
Common brass Used for cold working 
Gilding metal Used for ammunition jackets 
High brass Used for springs, screws, rivets
Low brass Used for metal hoses and bellows 
Manganese brass Used in making golden dollar coins
Muntz metal Used as a lining on boats 
Nickel brass Used to make pound coins 
Nordic gold Used in 10, 20 and 50 cts euro coins 
Rich low brass Used for jewelry

Brass Alloy Young's Modulus

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Young's Modulus or Modulus of Elasticity can be defined as the measurement of stiffness of an elastic material. It describes the elastic properties of various objects like wires, rods during compression or stretching. Tensile Modulus is ratio of stress along an axis to strain and it is used to predict the elongation or compression of any object. The Young's Modulus of brass alloy lies between 102 – 125 GPa. 
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