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Difference Between Steel and Brass

brass-coin-pdSteel vs Brass

Steel is an alloy of iron, and brass is a copper-zinc alloy. Brass can be cast or machined into everything from candle sticks to gold-imitating jewelry, whereas steel is stronger and harder, and steel applications are more commonly used by construction companies and industries. Steel is cheaper, and brass is more expensive, and not much of a structural material.

Brass is a tensile metal, and has a great ability to bend. It is used to make bearings, valves and moving parts, because it does not break easily. Steel, on the contrary, is difficult to cast, and quite difficult to work with in small machines. Brass’ ability with machines is much higher than steel, as steel has only 40% to 50% efficiency with machines. Brass is good conductor of heat and energy compared to steel. Steel and brass scraps can also be compared on their overall efficiency. Brass scrap does not lose its value and cost, with minimal effects on its efficiency, and is a good recycling material.

Brass has some significant advantages, such as it is preferred for industrial and agricultural applications. Brass is anti- corrosive compared to steel alloys, and does not rust easily, yet both of the elements may react with different corrosive agents. Due to its high anti-corrosive attribute, brass is used for petroleum products and for carrying hot or cold water within industrial or residential systems. The tensile strength of brass also overlaps carbon steel. The strength of brass makes threaded parts stronger.

Brass is nickel-plated to resist tarnishing, for surface hardening of products and decorative purposes. Steel is chrome-plated to make stainless steel. Steel wires are also brass-plated for steel-belted tires to promote adhesion to rubber. Steel can brittle at low temperatures, but brass can bear extreme weather conditions. Brass has various shades from gold to silver, and is ductile enough to used in jewelry making and decorative purposes, like for lamps and shades. Architects use brass to decorate or refurbish buildings because it is available in various colors and shades.

Brass products again overlap steel in the medical and surgery field because of its hygienic qualities. Another popular usage of brass is for making musical instruments, as well as fishing rods and pins, sanitary fittings etc. Steel has an edge over brass regarding cumulative stress, as it has a longer fatigue life compared to brass or other metal products. Brass and steel are both easy to use for welding and brazing.


1. Steel and brass are both alloys.

2. Brass is an excellent thermal and electrical conductor.

3. Steel structures have more fatigue life and strength.

4. Brass’ ductility is very helpful in making jewelry and decorative products.

5. Brass is hygienic and non-corrosive compared to steel.

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  1. Interesting article.very informative the differences between brass and steel.

  2. This would be a very useful article- if it made sense. It is riddled with factual errors (e.g. neither steel nor brass is an element) and very odd phrasing (e.g. “conductor of heat and energy”- what kind of energy exactly, if not heat?) and these cast doubt on all of the statements made. I suggest have someone with a technical background (or at least a recollection of what they learnt in high school science) write your technical articles…

  3. “Steel is chrome-plated to make stainless steel.”

    This is not true. Merely chrome- or nickel-plating steel does not make it ‘stainless’. It does make it more corrosion resistant than carbon (non-stainless) steel, certainly, which is why it is done, but not stainless. Stainless steels are steel alloys that contain a certain portion of chromium, and are more corrosion resistant than carbon steel. (How much more is dependent on the specific alloy.)

    Since stainless steels are alloys containing chromium, that element is distributed evenly throughout the material, not just in a thin layer on its surface (as in plating).

    (I came here to get an idea of what the mechanical properties of brass are, and I have a bit better idea than before, so thank you.)

  4. I’m about to buy an old fashioned iron. With a stone inside. The stone is heated and then put inside the iron.
    I have a choice of two. Which would work better, the brass or the cast iron?

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