Brass FAQs Brass is a metal alloy of copper and zinc. The proportions of the copper and zinc can be adjusted, giving brass various properties that are desirable for production. Here are some frequently asked questions to better understand the characteristics of brass:
Why is brass used to make musical instruments?
Brass has two main features that make it great for instrument-making: malleability and acoustic properties. In instruments such as the tuba, trumpet, French horn, and saxophone, the bronze maintains a good acoustic quality when it is vibrated. Furthermore, since these instruments are shaped intricately, brass's ability to be hammered and flattened without breaking or cracking is a key feature.
Why is brass sometimes used in hospitals?
The copper in brass gives the alloy antimicrobial properties. In fact, recent research has shown that fitting public spaces such as hospitals with brass fixtures (such as buttons, switches, and other commonly touched areas) drastically reduces the spread of infectious disease. When a virus comes into contact with brass, or other copper alloy, the organism dies within minutes or hours.
Why is brass desirable in machinery and tools?
One of the reasons why brass is often used in plumbing, electrical work, and boiler systems is because it has a lower corrosion rate than other metal alloys. Additionally, for situations where metal-on-metal friction is an issue, brass is often used to avoid explosions or simply to support functionality. For example, locking fixtures, gun parts, bearings and valves all make use of brass. Its ability to conduct electricity comes from the copper component as well.