Rockett, Frank H. Engineering Consultant, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Last reviewed:October 2019
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An alloy of copper and zinc. In manufacture, lump zinc is added to molten copper, and the mixture is poured either into castings ready for use or into billets for further working by rolling, extruding, forging, or a similar process. Brasses containing 75–85% copper are red-gold and malleable; those containing 60–70% are yellow and also malleable; and those containing 50% or less copper are white, brittle, and not malleable. Alpha brass contains up to 36% zinc; beta brass contains nearly equal proportions of copper and zinc. Specific brasses are designated as follows: gilding (95% copper: 5% zinc), red (85:15), low (80:20), and admiralty (70:29, with balance of tin). Naval brass is 59–62% copper with about 1% tin, less than that of lead and iron, and the remainder zinc. The nickel silvers contain 55–70% copper and the balance nickel. With small amounts of other metals, other names are used. Leaded brass is used for castings.
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