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Which Metals Conduct Electricity?
Which Metals Conduct Electricity?
Welding Processes for Stainless Steel
Welding Processes for Stainless Steel

Difference Between Copper, Brass and Bronze

Copper, brass and bronze, also known as “red metal”, may look the same at first, but in fact they are very different.

Difference Between Copper, Brass and Bronze

Copper is widely used in various products because of its excellent conductivity and thermal conductivity, good strength, good formability and corrosion resistance. Due to the corrosion resistance of these metals, pipes and fittings are usually made of these metals. They can be easily welded and brazed, and many can be welded by various gas, arc and resistance methods. They can be polished and polished to almost any desired texture and gloss.
Pure copper has different grades, and the amount of impurities they contain is also different. Oxygen free copper grades are designed for functions that require high conductivity and ductility.
One of the most important properties of copper is that it is resistant to bacteria. After extensive antibacterial tests, the environmental protection agency of the United States found that 355 kinds of copper alloys (including many brasses) killed more than 99.9% of bacteria within two hours after contact. Normal discoloration does not affect the antibacterial effect.


Copper is one of the earliest discovered metals. The Greeks and Romans made it into tools or decorations, and even historical details show that copper was used to disinfect wounds and purify drinking water. Today, it is most common in electrical materials, such as wiring, because of its ability to conduct electricity effectively.

Difference Between Copper, Brass and Bronze


Brass is mainly an alloy consisting of copper and zinc. Different amounts of zinc or other elements can be added to brass. These different mixtures produce a variety of properties and color changes. The increase of zinc content improves the strength and ductility of the material. The color of brass varies from red to yellow, depending on the amount of zinc in the alloy.
If the zinc content of brass is between 32% and 39%, its hot working ability will be improved, but its cold working ability will be limited.
If brass contains more than 39% zinc (e.g. Montez metal), it will have higher strength and lower ductility (at room temperature).


Brass is usually used for decoration, mainly because it is similar to gold. Because of its high processability and durability, it is also a commonly used musical instrument.

Other Brass Alloys

Tin copper
This is an alloy containing copper, zinc and tin. The alloy group includes Navy brass, Navy brass and free machining brass. Tin is added to inhibit dezincification (leaching of zinc from brass alloys) in many environments. The group has low sensitivity to dezincification, moderate strength, strong atmospheric and water corrosion resistance and good conductivity. It has good hot formability and cold formability. These alloys are commonly used in the manufacture of fasteners, marine hardware, screw mechanical components, pump shafts and corrosion-resistant mechanical products.


Bronze is an alloy that consists primarily of copper with the addition of other ingredients. In most cases the ingredient added is typically tin, but arsenic, phosphorus, aluminum, manganese, and silicon can also be used to produce different properties in the material. All of these ingredients produce an alloy much harder than copper alone.

Bronze is characterized by its dull-gold color. You can also tell the difference between bronze and brass because bronze will have faint rings on its surface.


Bronze is used in the construction of sculptures, musical instruments and medals, and in industrial applications such as bushings and bearings, where its low metal on metal friction is an advantage. Bronze also has nautical applications because of its resistance to corrosion.

Difference Between Copper, Brass and Bronze

Other Bronze Alloys

Phosphor Bronze (or Tin Bronze)

The tin content of this alloy is generally between 0.5% and 1.0%, and the phosphorus content is between 0.01% and 0.35%. These alloys are known for their toughness, strength, low friction coefficient, high fatigue resistance and fine grain size. Tin content improves the corrosion resistance and tensile strength of the alloy, while phosphorus content improves the wear resistance and hardness of the alloy. Some typical terminal applications of this product are electrical products, bellows, springs, gaskets, and corrosion-resistant equipment.

Aluminum Bronze

Aluminum content ranges from 6% to 12%, iron 6% (maximum), and nickel 6% (maximum). These composite additives increase strength and provide excellent corrosion and wear resistance. The material is commonly used to make Marine hardware, sleeve bearings and pumps or valves that handle corrosive fluids.

Silicon Bronze

This is an alloy that can cover brass and bronze (red silicon brass and red silicon bronze). They usually contain 20% zinc and 6% silicon. Red brass has high strength and corrosion resistance and is usually used for valve stems. Red bronze is very similar, but its zinc concentration is low. It is often used in the manufacture of pumps, valves and other components.

Nickel Brass (or Nickel Silver)

This is an alloy containing copper, nickel and zinc. Nickel gives the material an almost silver appearance. This material has moderate strength and good corrosion resistance. This material is often used to make musical instruments, food and beverage equipment, optical equipment, and other items important for aesthetic factors.

Copper Nickel (or Cupronickel)

This is an alloy containing 2 to 30 percent nickel. This material has high corrosion resistance and thermal stability. This material also exhibits very high resistance to corrosion cracking pressures and oxidation under steam or humid air environments. The higher the nickel content, the stronger the corrosion resistance in seawater and the stronger the resistance to marine biological pollution. This material is commonly used in the manufacture of electronic products, marine equipment, valves, pumps and hulls.