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August 2012

How To Tell The Difference Between Copper And Brass

Many people can struggle to tell the difference between some metals, and it's no wonder in many cases – brass, for example, is actually an alloy that has been created through the combination of copper and zinc. If you have a metal object that you are unsure about, there are, fortunately, a few ways that you can test it:

  • Compare the item to another that you know is definitely copper. Sit them side-by-side and compare the colouring and the sound for any similarities or differences.
  • Carefully scrutinize the colour of the item. If it is copper, it should have a reddish brown colouring and may even have patches of green if it has started to corrode. Brass, on the other hand, should be more yellowish in colour and be deeper brown after corrosion.
  • Give the item a tap with your fist and listen closely to the sound that is produced. As copper is a softer metal, it should create a mellower and much rounder sound.
  • Check over the entire surface of the item, inside and out, to try and locate any markings that could suggest its material of origin. Whilst copper is not usually marked, brass is often branded with the letter C followed by a group of three to five numbers.

There can be no denying that it can be difficult to tell the difference between copper and brass, especially as the latter is created by mixing the former with a predetermined amount of zinc. If you are unsure what type of metal you are dealing with, complete the above tests to discover for sure.