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Difference Between Brass and Bronze

Brass Vs Bronze

Copper is a common type of earth metal. It has many industrial uses worldwide. Now, when copper is combined with other metals the end result is an alloy. Both bronze and brass are examples of copper alloys. They too play very important roles industrially.

The primary difference between the two is that brass is made out of copper’s combination with zinc while bronze is literally copper plus tin. As mentioned, copper is now popularly used in many industries but for it to become more useful, it needs to be combined first with other more stable metals. This is because copper in its purest form is just too soft. This is the same reason why bronze and brass came to existence.

Historically speaking, bronze is an older alloy because it is said that it was already discovered as early as 3500 BC. The Sumerians is said to be the first civilization to have used such an alloy because of its toughness, being harder than raw iron. Bronze is also resistant to corrosion which made it an ideal choice for weaponry. Because steel was not yet discovered until modern times, bronze was the ideal material for the ancient civilization because it is a better material than iron in almost all aspects. Aside from tin, there are other elements that may be added to copper to make bronze like manganese, phosphorus, silicon and aluminum.

On the contrary, brass was not discovered until 500 BC, perhaps by accident. Yes, pure zinc was really never discovered at this time. It just so happened that people back then tried smelting copper together with calamine, which is an ore of zinc. The heat is the one that releases the zinc from calamine and it immediately combines with copper. The result is a tarnish resistant alloy that appears to be golden in color. This alloy later came to be known as brass with a characteristic of having a lower melting point and better malleability. Because of this property, brass has had many decorative uses.

Today, there has been so much confusion between brass and bronze because it is difficult to distinguish which is which especially at first look. Both alloys have also been combined with other elements to somewhat alter some of its properties.

1. Brass is made up of copper and zinc while bronze is made up of copper and tin.
2. Bronze is an older alloy than brass.
3. Bronze is harder, more expensive and corrosion resistant than brass.


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