Brass and brass plates are all made with a combination of two metals, namely copper and zinc, and these two combined make an alloy that is corrosion resistant, malleable, and very decorative due to its gold tinge. It is also known for its acoustic qualities, which makes it ideal for use in the creation of such instruments as tubas, trumpets and horns, to name but a few. Brass is also great for a number of other uses, and depending on what other metal is mixed into the alloy, it can also boast of durability and added toughness.
When brass gets some aluminum mixed into it, you get a very durable metal that has all the aforementioned qualities, with the addition of increased corrosion resistance and a hard surface layer that is said to be self healing. The same can be said of brass that gets an infusion of tin, although this one increases its resistance to seawater damage. Other additions to this metal, such as manganese and iron, can also help increase brass’ durability and resistance to wear and tear.
Another type of brass alloy that people often consider using is the one that has lead in it. This actually makes this metal easier to manipulate and machine. Since lead is considered toxic, even in small concentrations, some companies shifted to using silicon in its place. This gives the same effect as lead when combined with brass.
The resulting metal that comes from these combinations often result in a golden metal that is ideal for many uses. It should be known that the deeper the golden tinge, the higher the copper content. It should also be known that different percentages of copper and zinc in the metal being produced create different kinds of brass, and these different types have their own areas of use.
For example, if a brass plate has 65% or higher copper content and 35% or lower zinc content, you have what is called alpha brass. This type of brass is the type that you can work with cold and can be marked with the use of stamping, forging, pressing and other similar processes. This is because this particular type of brass is very malleable.
Other main brass types you will find in the market today include Alpha-beta brass (contains up to 65% copper and 35% zinc), Beta brass (contains up to 55% copper and 35% zinc), and white brass, which is made up of equal parts copper and zinc. Alpha-beta and beta brass are both alloys that can only be effectively worked when hot, with the latter being more suited for casting. White brass, on the other hand, is considered rather brittle for general bronze uses.
If you are to work with brass alloys, you will find that there are so many variants to choose from. You should make sure that what you choose will fit the kind of usage you have for such a metal. For instance, if the metal nameplate you are thinking of having made is to be exposed to seawater, and other similar substances, you might do well to choose brass plates that are alloys made with an addition of either aluminum or tin. If you want a similar type of alloy that is also tougher and harder, then one that has some iron in it may be best for you. For your more decorative needs, you can choose from a number of brass types and brass plates that have a brighter gold color to them such as Yellow Brass, Admiralty Brass and Prince’s metal. For brass with a reddish tinge, red brass (otherwise known as gunmetal) may be your best option.