Comparison Between Brass and Bronze – Brass vs Bronze, What’s the Difference | CNCLATHING


Bronze and brass are two kinds of copper alloys used from ancient times, they have lots of similarities, but their composition and appearance are quite different. How to tell the difference between brass and bronze, here we are going to show the comparison between brass and bronze, make a proper choice when brass vs bronze.

What is Brass?

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, other metals including iron, aluminum, silicon, and manganese may be added, change the proportions of each element can get varying mechanical and electrical properties. High zinc content gives brass increased strength and ductility, and the addition of manganese lead to resistance to corrosion. According to the content of copper and zinc in the alloy, brass can be classified into the following types: 

– Alpha brasses (>65% copper): commonly used to make fasteners, such as wood screws, and spring contacts in electrical sockets.

– Alpha-beta brasses (55-65% copper): harder and stronger than alpha brass, also has a lower cold ductility, and more susceptible to dezincification corrosion.

– Beta brasses (50-55% copper): less ductile but stronger, suitable for the manufacture of faucet handles, sprinkler heads, window and door fittings, and other fixtures.

– Gamma brasses (33-39% copper)

– White brasses (<50% copper): too brittle for general use.


When it comes to commonly used brass alloys, we work with 360 brass, red/yellow brass and more grades.

Properties and Applications of Brass

The high malleability and workability of brass are notable, it is malleable, shapeable, and fileable, with these properties and relatively good corrosion resistance, as well as traditionally attributed acoustic properties, brass is a popular option for the construction of musical instruments. The gold-like appearance should be the reason for its use in decoration. The brass parts can be polished to achieve a shiny luster easily. Its bactericidal features make it suitable in marine environments where it prevents biofouling. The relatively low melting point of brass and its flow characteristics make it easy to cast, it also can be machined by lathes, mills, and drills in the CNC machining factory. Brass is also readily to be hot formed, but not typically is not forgeable.

What is Bronze?

Bronze is an alloy primarily consists of copper, commonly added about 12-12.5% tin and a small number of other metals such as aluminum, manganese, nickel, zinc, or non-metals sometimes. Compared with brass, bronze has a longer history of introduction and application. Bronze dates back to 3500 BC and brings the Bronze Age, while brass was introduced around 500 BC. There are a series of different bronze alloys with varying composition, the typical modern bronze is composed of 88% copper and 12% tin, more bronze alloys are listed below.

– Aluminum bronze

– Phosphor bronze

– Silicon bronze

– Manganese bronze

– Copper-nickel bronze

– Bismuth bronze

Properties and Applications of Bronze

Bronze is typically ductile alloys, much less brittle than cast iron, it exhibits low metal-to-metal friction and known as its resilience to oxidation, shapability, and durability. Bronze is a better conductor of heat and electricity than most steels. A variety of uses can reflect their versatile physical, mechanical, and chemical properties, such as low-friction properties of bearing bronze, resonant qualities of bell bronze, and resistance to corrosion by seawater of some bronze alloys. In addition, common bronze is nonmagnetic, but certain alloys containing iron or nickel may have magnetic properties. Most bronze components are processed through CNC turning on a lathe or cast with a casting machine.

Difference Between Brass and Bronze

Brass and bronze are both copper-based alloys that widely used in various industries, what are the main differences between bronze and brass?

1. Brass is alloyed primarily with copper and zinc, while bronze is a copper alloy with tin as the main additive. 

2. Brass generally comes in muted yellow, a little bit like gold, but it’s darker, while the bronze shows in reddish-brown. This feature is where you can differentiate brass and bronze from.

3. Bronze appeared and was used earlier than brass

4. Brass is commonly used in decorative and applications that requires low friction and corrosion resistance, including locks, hinges, gears, valves, ammunition casings, plumbing, electronics, and musical instruments, boat, marine hardware, costume jewelry, fittings and tools used near flammable materials, etc. The main applications of bronze products and materials are boat and ship fittings, cast bronze sculpture, bushings and bearings, clips, mirrors, electrical connectors and springs, top-quality bells and cymbals, etc. 


How to identify between brass and bronze? There are several ways that performs well in differentiating these two alloys. The first one is to scratch the metal with a file, brass is easier to but cut. You can also heat the metal in a furnace, brass will melt faster. Another method is to inspect brass and bronze under a magnifying glass, bronze is porous and dull while brass is smooth and shiny. 

Comparison Between Brass and Bronze

The differences in the material ingredients cause bronze and brass suitable for different uses. Here is the brass and bronze comparison chart indicate some attribute differences in data and you can distinguish them in properties and appearance.