Difference Between Brass and Bronze

Main Difference

The main difference between brass and bronze is that the brass is composed of zinc and copper metals, whereas bronze is composed of tin and copper metals.

Brass vs. Bronze

Brass and bronze are the two metal alloys made of copper that is mixed with other metals or elements. Brass and bronze have different compositions, but the two alloys look very similar. Brass is a metal alloy that is composed of copper and zinc. Bronze is a metal alloy that is composed of copper and tin. Due to this difference in their composition, brass and bronze have different properties and uses. The durability, color, and application of these metals are quite different. Brass is a soft metal. It should not be used around flammable materials. Bronze is a hard metal. It can be used around flammable and explosive materials. Brass varies from a dull gold color to a slightly more reddish hue. It’s color depending on the amount of zinc in the alloy. Bronze has a mix of browns, reds, and yellows, depending on the composition. It usually looks reddish-brown. Brass is composed of copper and zinc. But aluminum and lead are also sometimes added to it. Bronze is composed of copper and tin metals and sometimes, arsenic, phosphorous, aluminum, manganese and silicon are also added in it. Brass is used since prehistoric times. It became much more popular after the medieval period when people learned to create copper-zinc metal. Bronze was discovered before brass. It is used in some form since 5000 BC. Brass is resistant to corrosion but not towards saltwater. Bronze is resistant to corrosion that occurs from saltwater.

Comparison Chart

BrassBronze
A metal alloy that is composed of zinc and copper metalsA metal alloy composed of tin and copper metals
Malleability
A high degree of malleabilityHard and brittle
Color
Bright goldenReddish-brown
Texture
SoftHard
History
First existed in about 500 BCDates to about 3500 BC

What is Brass?

Brass is a metal alloy. A metal alloy is a mixture of some metals or a mixture of a metal with another element. A metal alloy has different properties from metal with impurities. A metal alloy is made to obtain desired properties. Brass is a metal alloy of copper with a mixture of copper and zinc. Sometimes other metals are also added to it. There are dozens of different brass alloys. Each of these alloys has its proportion of copper and zinc. There are also tiny amounts of aluminum, phosphorus, manganese, and other metals. Depending on the composition of each metal, various types of brass are observed. Some of them are Alpha brass, Aluminum brass, Beta brass, and Lead brass. Brass is bright golden with a better malleability (a substance’s ability to get deformed under pressure). Brass has a low melting point. It is a good conductor of heat. Brass is used since prehistoric times. It became much more popular after the medieval period when people learned to create the copper-zinc 8; metal. It was made by smelting copper ores, which has high proportions of zinc. Brass is resistant to corrosion. Aluminum is added to brass to improve its corrosion resistance. It has a low level of friction. Due to its low melting point and better malleability, and high durability, brass has many decorative uses. Moreover, its golden color also makes it good for decorative purposes. Due to its low friction, brass is used in low-friction applications such as locks.

Applications of Brass

  • Door handles
  • Lamps
  • Ceiling fixtures
  • Musical instruments
  • Pipe fittings, nuts, and bolts

What is Bronze?

Bronze is the alloy that consists of copper and tin metal. The standard bronze is made of about 88% copper and 12% tin. Sometimes additional elements are also present, such as aluminum, manganese, nickel, arsenic, phosphorous, aluminum, manganese and silicon. Non-metals or metalloids like arsenic, phosphorus, or silicon are also present in bronze in some cases. Bronze adopts the properties of these additional elements and becomes stiffer, more ductile, and highly malleable. Bronze appears in dull gold and reddish-brown color. It’s melting point depends on the amount of tin present in it. Bronze was discovered before brass. It is in use in some form since 5000 BC. Arsenic was used in The earliest bronze instead of tin. Arsenic bronze artifacts were in the Iranian Plateau between the Western and Central Asia. Depending on the composition of metals, bronze has several types. Two types of bronze are Phosphor bronze (contains copper, tin and phosphorous) and Aluminum bronze (this bronze has copper along with aluminum, iron, and nickel). Bronze is a harder, expensive, and corrosion-resistant alloy.

Applications of Bronze

  • Boat and ship fittings (due to its resistance towards corrosion by saltwater)
  • Sculptures, mirrors, reflectors, springs, making, etc
  • Drawn into thin wires (because highly ductile and exhibits low friction)
  • Castings, extrusions, and forgings that play major roles in agriculture, architecture, and maritime construction
  • Pump housings, sporting equipment, and building doors and windows making
  • Oil and petrochemical piping
  • Glass bottle manufacturing
  • Specialized anti-corrosive applications

Key Differences

  1. Brass is a metal alloy that is composed of copper and zinc, whereas bronze is a metal alloy that is composed of copper and tin.
  2. Brass is a soft metal. It should not be used around flammable materials on the flip side Bronze is a hard metal. It is used around flammable and explosive materials.
  3. Brass varies from a dull gold color to a slightly more reddish hue conversely Bronze has a mix of browns, reds, and yellows depending on the composition. It usually looks reddish-brown.
  4. Brass is resistant to corrosion but not towards saltwater; on the other hand, bronze is resistant to corrosion that occurs from saltwater.
  5. Brass is mainly used for decorative purposes while Bronze is used in the production of boat and ship fittings.

Conclusion

Brass and bronze both are the metal alloys that are made of copper. They are different in their composition, and due to this, they vary in their properties and uses.

Author:

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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