The OnlineMetals Guide to Brass

Brass is one of the most-used materials in the world. The term brass generally applies to alloys of copper where the main alloying ingredient beside copper is zinc. Other alloys of copper where the main alloying ingredient is tin are usually referred to as bronze.

Brass is generally known for several things - decent strength and electrical conductivity, it can be polished easily, and there seems to be a brass for just about every application. With few exceptions, most notably C230 Red Brass and C770 Nickel Silver, materials in this category generally are yellow in color. OnlineMetals.com currently stocks six brass alloys.

C230 Brass (available in Pipe)
C260 Brass (available in Foil, Plate, Sheet, Tube)
 
C360 Brass (available in Hex, Rectangle, Round, Square)
C464 Brass (available in Plate, Round, Sheet)
C770 Nickel Silver (available in Sheet)

230 Brass (Red Brass)
As the name would imply, this material is reddish in color. It is one of the stronger brass items that we carry.

C230 Red Brass
Minimum Properties Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi 70,300
Yield Strength, psi 57,300
Elongation 5%
Rockwell Hardness B77
Chemistry Copper (Cu) 84 - 86%
Zinc (Zn) 15%
Iron (Fe) 0.05% min
Lead (Pb) 0.06% min

260 Brass (Cartridge Brass)
260 Brass is known by about a zillion different names, but the most common are yellow brass and cartridge brass, the second because it is generally used for shell casings. As a rule, it is only available in sheet, and is not very machinable, but is a great combination of formability and workability.

C260 Cartridge Brass
Minimum Properties Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi 61,600
Yield Strength, psi 52,200
Elongation 23%
Rockwell Hardness B77
Chemistry Copper (Cu) 68.5 - 71.5%
Zinc (Zn) 28.5 - 31.5%
Iron (Fe) 0.05% max
Lead (Pb) 0.07% max

330 Brass (no nickname for this brass, and it gets picked on by the other brasses)
We've never figured out why this material doesn't have a nickname, but that is the metals industry for you. It is normally only available in tubing products, and has a good balance of both workability and machinability (the latter due to the presence of lead).

If you've ever seen a brass fire pole, or, um, any other kind of brass poles, chances are you were looking at 330 Brass.

C330 Brass
Minimum Properties Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi 65,300
Yield Strength, psi 50,000
Elongation 32%
Rockwell Hardness B70
Chemistry Copper (Cu) 65 - 68%
Zinc (Zn) 33.5%
Iron (Fe) 0.07% max
Lead (Pb) 0.2 - 0.8%

360 Brass (Free Machining Brass)
Free Machining brass is the most commonly used of the brass rod and bar items. The presence of lead in the alloy creates a highly machinable material that can easily be cut and shaped into whatever you need. It is not so good, however, at forming operations.

C360 Free Machining Brass
Minimum Properties Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi 58,000
Yield Strength, psi 45,000
Elongation 25%
Rockwell Hardness B78
Chemistry Copper (Cu) 60 - 63%
Zinc (Zn) 35.5%
Iron (Fe) 0.35% min
Lead (Pb) 2.5 - 3.7%

464 Naval Brass / Naval Bronze
Used primarily in applications where corrosion resistance is important, the material has a small amount of tin added to help deal with corrosion, especially in seawater.

C464 Naval Brass / Naval Bronze
Minimum Properties Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi 75,000
Yield Strength, psi 52,900
Elongation 20%
Rockwell Hardness B82
Chemistry Copper (Cu) 59 - 62%
Zinc (Zn) 39.25%
Iron (Fe) 0.10% max
Tin (Sn) 0.5 - 1.00%

770 (Nickel Silver)
Nickel Silver is named for its silvery appearance, but surprisingly contains no silver at all.

C770 Nickel Silver
Minimum Properties Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi 108,000
Yield Strength, psi 89,900
Elongation 2.5%
Rockwell Hardness B96
Chemistry Copper (Cu) 53.5 - 56.5%
Iron (Fe) 0.25% max
Manganese (Mn) 0.5% max
Nickel (Ni) 16.5 - 19.5%
Lead (Pb) 0.1% max
Zinc (Zn) 27%

At OnlineMetals, we all failed shop class. Multiple times. As a matter of fact, our employment applications specifically ask to see people's grades for their high school shop classes. If they're too high, they go into the rejected pile. We're also not engineers, and cannot make any specific recommendations about the suitability of a given alloy, temper, or shape for your project or application.

All technical data is for comparison purposes only and is NOT FOR DESIGN. It has been compiled from sources we believe to be accurate but cannot guarantee. This ends the part of the website that our pointy-headed lawyers made us put in.


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