Copper and brass are some of the metals that are widely accepted by scrap metal buyers. These two metals may seem similar because they tend to share color, weight, and shine. This makes it difficult to tell the difference between the two metals.
The following are some of the ways you can tell the difference between copper and brass.
The main difference between copper and brass is that copper is a pure element that is found naturally in the state that it is in. On the other hand, brass is an alloy, meaning it is a mixture of two or more metals. Unlike copper which holds a place on the periodic table, brass is a metal alloy made up of a combination of copper and zinc or manganese. The reason why brass resembles copper is that there's a percentage of copper in brass.
Copper is a durable metal, but its tensile strength is about half that of brass. This is why it's not commonly used for structural applications where strength is required. Although copper is not a strong metal, it's not easy to break. It can easily be drawn into thread-like structures thanks to its ductile and malleable nature. In terms of strength, brass is tougher and much more durable compared to copper. Increased amounts of zinc in brass improve its strength.
Copper and brass have a different color and sheen to them. Copper has a reddish-brown rustic finish, while brass has a yellowish, lighter finish. When copper starts to corrode, it may have patches of green.
Copper is used in electrical equipment and electronics because it’s a good conductor of electricity and heat. Brass is commonly used in plumbing, locking mechanisms, hinges, ammunition, musical instruments, casings, and bearings due to its strength and durability. Brass is also used for decorative purposes due to its resemblance to gold.
Copper produces a deep resonant sound when struck while brass produces a high-pitched sound.
Copper is a corrosion-resistant metal in a wide variety of environments thanks to the naturally protective film that forms on the metal's surface. On the other hand, brass tends to react with salty water, making it less ideal for use in marine environments.
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