The rich golden-amber hues of brass hold widespread appeal. Manufacturers have used this versatile alloy of copper for centuries! Most brass contains some zinc, although alloys may include other elements at well. The addition of variable amounts of zinc impacts the strength of brass parts significantly.
Today, brass components play an important role in numerous economic sectors. Long-lasting cost-effective precision-engineered brass parts figure prominently in the global electronics industry, for instance.
ADVANTAGES OF BRASS ALLOYS
Brass alloys supply many advantages within a manufacturing environment:
- The wide availability of zinc and copper help keep brass alloys comparatively cost-effective.
- Brass both casts and machines easily, helping manufacturers to control production costs better.
- Today metallurgists can manipulate the composition of brass alloys to elicit certain desirable properties in a metal component. For instance, manufacturers use carefully-created brass alloys to obtain strength, corrosion resistance, heat conductivity, wear-resistance, and the ability to tolerate extensive machining.
- Brass possesses warm, rich colors, contributing to its popularity as a decorative metal, too.
- Brass alloys display a durable lifecycle providing solid value. These materials usually maintain shape well over the course of time.
- Manufacturers can create ornate patterns in the surface of brass, permitting the creation of intricate details more cost-effectively in a single extrusion. This capability often contributes to reduced production times and lower cost requirements.
BRASS ALLOYS FOR EXTRUSION AND CASTING
Metal part manufacturing firms which work with brass often rely extensively upon two important production processes: casting and extrusion. Each of these techniques offers a way to form useful brass parts.
During the casting process, a manufacturer pours a molten brass alloy into a mold. The metal gradually cools and solidifies in a recrystallized form.
The process of brass extrusion differs from casting; a manufacturer forces hot metal through a shaped die to generate a specific desired shape, such as a rod.
Different categories of alloys may display disparate properties. Just consider some popular brass alloys (and closely related metals) available in the commercial marketplace today:
ALUMINUM BRASS ALLOYS AND BRONZES
This category of alloys typically offers high strength, as well a good corrosion resistance. These popular metals form many cast products.
Widely used in casting, extrusions and hot forging (and sometimes even in cold forming), nickel silver alloys have gained acclaim because they usually accept a high polish. Metal parts composed of these alloys may display sleek, almost satin-like finishes, for instance. Most metal parts consisting of nickel silver alloys perform decorative roles, although some do display other advantages, such as heightened wear resistance, corrosion resistance and strength. Properties of the individual alloys vary, based upon metal composition.
NAVAL BRASSES AND BRONZES
Alloys classified as naval brasses or bronzes display excellent corrosion resistance properties. Used in both brass castings and extrusions, these alloys function well in rugged maritime environments. Shipbuilders often rely upon naval brass alloys in cabin components, for instance.
Used in both brass castings and extrusions, DZR (“dezincification resistant”) brass alloys function well in underwater environments. These metals resist the loss of zinc.
Usually more expensive than alloys containing lead, lead-free brasses perform an important role in many municipal water systems in the USA since the passage of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974. They frequently form plumbing components, including pipes, faucets and other fixtures.
HIGH TENSILE BRASSES
With good hot forging properties, high tensile brass alloys typically demonstrate high strength, plus excellent resistance to corrosion and wear. Manufacturers use these alloys in forged fasteners, pump parts and rods, pump valves, and valve spindles.
ARCHITECTURAL BRASS AND BRONZE ALLOYs
Brass alloys and bronze alloys appear frequently in decorative items used in architectural construction. For instance, parts made from this attractive category of metal alloys often form moldings, door and window frames, door handles, elevator sills and other modern building decor items.
ALLOYS USED IN COLD FORMING
Both brass extrusions and hot-rolled parts may benefit from cold forming during the manufacturing process. This category of brass alloys includes C26000, C35300, and C38000. These metals typically display excellent ductility, so manufacturers may use them for riveting or cold heading.
BRASS ALLOYS FOR FORGING
During the process of forging, a manufacturer applies heat and/or mechanical force to billots or ingots to change the shape of the material.
Two types of forging techniques factor significantly in the production of many bronze components: free machining and hot forging.
FREE MACHINING BRASS
Manufacturers frequently perform machining of brass components using high-speed automatic lathes or screw machines. Production may involve cutting brass parts directly from sheet metal. This technique permits the generation of some useful metal components. Certain alloys perform especially well during riveting, for instance.
HOT FORGING BRASS
The hot forging process also produces numerous metal components today. For example, during complex closed die forging, manufacturers prefer to employ metals which become very malleable while hot. Alloy C377 may permit the generation of simple shapes during the forging process due to its flow properties. The brass parts formed from this important alloy typically remain free of porosity, yet they often display close dimensional accuracy.
BRASS ALLOYS FOR DECORATIVE APPLICATIONS
The lovely appearance of brass helps make this metal exceedingly popular in decorative applications. Potential uses range from jewelry to architectural decors.
An alloy known as Gilding Metal C21000 contributes to the jewelry trade, for instance. Its rich amber color and corrosion resistance enhances its popularity. This material reaches manufacturers in both sheet metal and strip metal form.