Brass and bronze metal may look similar, but there are distinctive differences between them. Learn what these differences are before recycling your metal!
For those looking to recycle a large amount of brass, you may want to take a closer look to ensure your brass pile is in fact, all brass. The price per pound for bronze is higher than brass, and often times, people make the mistake by assuming all “yellow metals” are brass. However, brass can have bronze in it as well, making it slightly more valuable. Continue reading to learn what the difference is between the two metals, and how to tell them apart from one another.
Brass is a non-ferrous alloy metal. “Non-ferrous” means that it does not contain any iron and lacks magnetic abilities. An “alloy” is a metal that is comprised of other metals. In the case of brass, copper and zinc are the majority metals, with most brass containing anywhere from 60 to 80% copper and 20 to 40% zinc. Zinc and copper combined makes for a stronger and more durable metal that has a yellow-ish tint.
Brass is commonly used in plumbing applications, including brass pipes and plumbing fixtures, turnings, shells, and more. However, it also have several other industry applications. For instance, brass is a common metal for making musical instruments like trumpets and trombones.
Bronze is less common than brass. It is also a non-ferrous alloy made up of zinc and copper, so it is difficult to tell brass apart from bronze. The difference between the two alloys is simply the amount of copper content. Bronze has more copper content than brass, usually between 80 and 90 percent, which is why it is redder in color. Brass has less copper, so it is more yellow or gold in color. Bronze is also heavier and more dense than brass, so it is a common material for statutes and decorative objects. In order to tell brass from bronze, you need experience in the metal buying industry.
To determine the exact amounts of copper and zinc in a metal item, you would need some technology. There is a device called an XFR analyzer that can read metal. These are very expensive, and generally used by large scrap metal companies.