Brass vs Bronze? What’s the difference?

There have been times that I’ve seen bronze and brass items being marketed in the same categories but they are quite different not only in their make up but also in appearance. Here is some information that will help guide you in determining which would be best for your project.

First, bronze dates back to 3500 BC with the Sumerians, also leading to the Bronze Age. Through its discovery, people were able to create more detailed metal sculptures and building materials (decorative tiles), a larger variety of tools, weapons, and armor. Bronze was a much stronger and more durable alternative to stone and copper.

Brass was introduced around 500 BC.  Brass is made from an alloy of Copper and Zinc. Since Zinc is rarely if ever found in its natural state, early on people discovered melting copper and calamine (a zinc ore) yielded a golden colored tarnish resistant metal.  It was quite useful due to a high melting point and it’s malleability.

Below is a Comparison Chart that will clearly highlight the similarities and differences between the two metals:

 Brass vs Bronze

Brass Bronze
Composition: Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive, but sometimes with other elements such as phosphorus, manganese, aluminum, or silicon.
Properties: Higher malleability than zinc or copper. Low melting point (900 c); flows when melted. Combinations of iron, aluminum, silicon & manganese make brass corrosion resistant. Susceptible to stress cracking when exposed to ammonia. Not as hard as steel. Hard and brittle. Melts at 950 centigrade but depends on amount of tin present. Bronze resists corrosion (especially seawater corrosion) and metal fatigue more than steel and is also a better conductor of heat and electricity than most steels.
Color: Muted yellow, somewhat similar to gold, but duller. Reddish brown.
Uses: Decorative; Low-friction applications (locks, gears, doorknobs, ammunition, valves); Plumbing/electronics; Musical instruments for acoustic properties; Zippers & uses where it’s important to negate spark(fittings & tools around explosive gas), boat and marine hardware Used in boat and ship fittings, propellers and submerged bearings because of resistance to salt water corrosion. Widely used for cast bronze sculpture; Bearings, clips, electrical connectors and springs; For top-quality bells and cymbals.
History: Brass was first known to exist in about 500 BC. Bronze dates to about 3500 BC.



Our Brass Snap Hooks and both the Brass Boat Snaps and Brass Swivel Eye Bolt Snaps are solid brass. Our customers use them for a variety of purposes ranging from pet leashes, handbags, fashion accessories, military purposes, and much more.  They are durable in the outdoors and an attractive snap to include on your products.  Our Brass Rings are also used in many industries and fields.

For more information about our brass line of snaps and rings, check out our brass page.

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