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Common Uses of Brass

Published by Lucy Thurston on


Brass is a highly versatile metal alloy consisting of various quantities of copper, zinc and alloying agents such as aluminium and lead, the proportions of which depend on where it is used. It is incorporated extensively across commercial and industrial applications due to a number of key properties.

What are the Properties of Brass?

  • It is resistant to corrosion, making it a popular choice for plumbing and other trades that require the transportation of water.
  • It has strength and durability. Even brass sheet metal, after forming, can withstand excessive stress.
  • Brass can also withstand high heat levels without oxidising.
  • Brass also has a low melting point of around 1000 degrees Celsius, saving time and money as it does not take much energy to melt it.
  • It is a great conductor of electricity, which is why it is used extensively in wiring and other electrical components.
  • Brass offers an aesthetic value that elevates it above other metals, making it ideal for decorative use.

Versatility of Use

The versatility of brass means that it can be formed into any number of shapes and sizes according to need. Brass sheet metal, for example, is used specifically for musical instruments, incorporating hollow brass tube components to elevate the sounds that they produce.

Ordering a brass tube that can be cut to size makes it a popular choice, particularly in heating and ventilation, and plumbing jobs where the constant flow of water is essential to the smooth functioning of an installation.

Making Music with a Brass Band

Whether playing in the brass section as part of a bigger orchestra or following the traditions of a dedicated brass band, brass sheet metal is one of the most common forms of brass material. Different instruments produce different sounds, and this is down to the proportions of copper and zinc used, which influence the colour of the brass and the tone produced.

  • Yellow brass: made up of 70 per cent copper and 30 per cent zinc, this brighter yellow brass emanates a clear, bright tone that is so resonant in trumpet fanfares.
  • Gold brass: a higher copper content of 85 per cent makes this brass slightly darker in colour, giving it a broader, fuller tone that projects well.
  • Red or Rose brass: with a 90 per cent copper content, the sound produced is much deeper and warmer with mellow undertones.

A hollow brass tube is usually used as the ‘lead pipe’ of an instrument, which is the main area around the mouthpiece. This is due to the anti-corrosion properties of brass, minimising the build-up of corrosion that can occur as a result of the acidity of saliva.

Brass Round Tubes to Keep Water and Electricity Flowing

The anti-corrosive element of brass is also why it is used extensively in plumbing and other industrial applications where the free flow of water is important. Brass angles and hollow brass tube sections are welded together to form piped connections that maintain the flow of hot and cold water.

As well as the piping, brass is a common metal used to manufacture taps, faucets and other fixtures. Not only is it chosen for its any-corrosive element, but it also has a high aesthetic quality which has been employed in the design of ornate kitchen and bathroom fittings for many decades.

Though water and electricity should never mix, brass is also a great conductor of electricity due to its high copper content. It is used in various components of electrical sockets and switches.

Mechanical Components

In applications where metal is set against metal, any potential friction needs to be minimised. Brass exhibits this lack of friction, which is why it is used extensively in the design and manufacture of high-precision mechanics such as bearings, gears, valves and shell casings. When properly maintained, brass can give a much longer and wear-free usage than many other metals such as steel or aluminium.

Architectural and Aesthetic Uses

As previously mentioned, brass is a metal that is used extensively in both architectural and decorative products, which require both a practical solution while looking good.

With a malleability that can be formed into any number of shapes, brass angles, brass sheet metal, and brass tube cut to size, a wide range of products can be created that have both a practical and a decorative appeal. Brass bathroom taps, for example, have long since been a popular and traditional choice, demonstrating quality and beauty with the practicality of a non-corrosive metal to ensure long-term functionality for everyday activity.

Rapid Metals is an eminent brass tube supplier in the UK, supplementing its range with a brass angle stock and brass sheet metal, all cut to a customer’s own specification. Contact Rapid Metals if you have specific brass or, indeed, any other metal products need.

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Common Uses of Brass

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