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Copper VS Brass: How to Differentiate Between the Two for the Scrap Industry?

In the world of metals, there is no wonder on the fact that how many people find it hard to tell the contrasts between different metals that look alike. One similar case is with metals like copper and brass, which can be mistaken for identical twins because they seem to be of the same color, same weight, and shine.  

Suppose you are planning to visit a scrapyard nearby your place or are someone from a metal business, like Scrap Metal Buyers. In that case, it is important for you to understand all the basic distinctions that set both metals apart. Having the proper knowledge of the metal not only helps separate the metals but also helps determine the correct value of the metal and secure the best payment possible.  

Copper vs. Brass as a whole  

Copper and brass fall into the category of metals known as "red metals" due to their reddish tint. 

It comes as no surprise that copper and brass are difficult to distinguish because, without copper, there is no brass. Copper is a naturally occurring element, whereas brass is an alloy made up of a combination of copper and zinc. 

Putting the two apart 

Even though both metals are made up of distinct properties and grades across the industry, it is vital to understand the difference. 

What is Copper? 

Pure and naturally occurring non-ferrous metal, copper is found in abundance. As it is one of the few metals found in nature, it is directly suitable for processing and is easily combined with other metals to form alloys. 

From making it ideal both for construction and manufacturing, there are different properties of Copper Metal that make it this versatile. 

  1. Copper has excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, making it suitable for electronic and thermal uses.
     
  2. Copper maintains strength and exhibits resistance to many forms of damage.
     
  3. Copper is antimicrobial-resistant as it helps kill bacteria exposed to its surface. 

Availability of different copper grades 

In order to facilitate its versatility, there are different grades of copper that are available in the market, like: 

  1. Alloy 101: An oxygen-free copper that is suitable for manufacturers that need high conductivity and ductility.
     
  2. Alloy 110: Popularly known as electrolytic copper, it gives good ductility and malleability.
     
  3. Alloy 122: It is mechanically similar to Alloy 110 and exhibits superior formability, brazing, and weldability conductivity.
     
  4. Alloy 145: Also known as tellurium copper, it consists of 0.4 to 0.7% tellurium content. 

Use application of metal copper 

Offering the best conductivity, formability, and machinability, copper metals are suitable and are used for a wide range of industrial applications, like 

  1. Architectural 
  2. Construction
  3. Plumbing 
  4. Heat exchanger materials and components

What is Brass? 

Just like copper, brass is also a non-ferrous red metal that primarily consists of copper and zinc. Brass is an absolute combination of copper and zinc as a whole, which makes the metal appear with a reddish tint. To deliver other combinations of brass characteristics, it is often mixed with other metals like lead, tin, iron, silicon, etc. 

As a copper alloy, there are several properties that demonstrate the characteristics of the alloy metal brass. The most common properties are:

  1. Brass is stronger and stiffer in nature than pure copper. 
  2. Being more malleable and formable than copper, brass is easy to cast and work. 
  3. Brass has a high melting point of 900 °C.
  4. Brass is non-ferromagnetic and is much easier to process for recycling. 

Availability of different brass grades 

Brass is available in a variety of grades, like: 

  1. Alloy 260: Demonstrating cold working properties most suitable for use in ammunition, automobiles, hardware, and others, brass alloy 260 is also known as cartridge brass.
     
  2. Alloy 272: Considered a yellow brass made up of 33% zinc alloy, 272 is used in industrial and architectural applications.
     
  3. Alloy 330: Brass alloy 330 is suitable for cold-working and is used to produce pipes. It is also used where high machinability is critical.
     
  4. Alloy 360: Popularly known as free-cutting brass, it exhibits machinability and formability. Alloy 360 is applicable in hardware components, fittings, valves, and fasteners. 

Use application of brass

Due to its gold appearance, brass is widely used in terms of decorative and architectural elements. Additionally, due to its properties like workability and machinability, it is also used in manufacturing plumbing, electronics, and musical instruments. 

Tips on how to differentiate between copper and brass 

Following the above-mentioned properties of the two, it is now easy to distinguish between copper and brass items.

  1. Identify the uses: Copper is used in manufacturing pipes, fittings, sculpture creations, wires, etc., whereas brass is used for manufacturing decorative items.
     
  2. Check the exterior: To tell the difference, check the exterior of the copper and brass. Look for marking codes starting with the letter C followed by 3 digits. If the marking is there, then the metal is brass, and if there is no marking, then it is copper.
     
  3. Color: Copper is reddish brown in color, whereas brass is in a lighter finish.
     
  4. Determine the durability: Copper is not easy to break or crack easily, whereas brass is prone to cracking and corrosion.

In the end, any scrap metal you bring for recycling is going to help the environment, so no matter whether you have copper or brass, you can still get a nice paycheck for what you offer only on Scraapy, one of the Copper Scrap Buyers. Also, if you have any other scrap metal present with you, it is advised to visit our What We Buy page to see what the scrap might be worth, or Contact Us today.

Posted by: Admin | Posted Date: 09-09-2022