Bronze vs. Brass

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Bronze and Brass are easy to get confused. They look similar, have similar sounding names, and are used for many similar applications. These two materials, while sharing many positive qualities, are not identical.

Bronze is a copper alloy made primarily from copper and tin. Metal workers developed this material that was both strong and malleable, meaning it would not crack as easily as something like iron. Items made of this material can only be manufactured by casting the material into a mold or by machining a precast bronze ingot.

Brass is a copper alloy made primarily from copper and zinc, and is extremely versatile. Brass is very malleable and easy to work with. This makes Brass easy to cast, forge, heat extrude or cold draw. Brass is corrosion resistant, but is susceptible to breaking down when exposed to high levels of chlorine.

Both Bronze and Brass may include small portions of a range of other elements including arsenic, phosphorus, aluminum, manganese, bismuth and silicon. These elements enhance the machinability and corrosion resistance of the products produced.

With modern metallurgy, today’s foundries cast superior bronze alloys which are utilized for countless applications. Likewise, modern brass alloys that resist dezincification are being produced via hi-tech fabricating techniques using chemicals and heat. These breakthroughs in metallurgy increase the longevity of piping and valves, ensuring the continued use of Bronze and Brass for years to come.

Bronze (Copper & Tin) Brass (Copper & Zinc)
Pros Somewhat corrosion resistant Hard, strong and malleable Relatively inexpensive Better corrosion resistant Strong and very malleable
Cons Somewhat expensive Has a rough and porous surface that is susceptible to gradual degradation Susceptible to breaking down when exposed to high levels of chlorine.