Brass isn’t a naturally occurring metal, but instead, it is a general term used for a set of copper-zinc alloys but can also include other metals like lead. Arguably, brass is the most widely used alloys because of its versatility of properties. There are several types of brass and each has a unique set of properties but there are a few properties that they all have in common. Brass is known for its strength, machinability, conductivity and is extremely corrosion resistant.
For centuries, brass has been the primary choice to construct musical instruments because of its corrosion resistance and machinability. Another very common use for brass is in marine engines or wet pump parts, which means that one of the very first commercial uses of brass was for naval ships. As mentioned above, brass is coveted for its versatility, and its non-magnetic nature makes it ideal for clock and watch components, electrical terminals, and munitions.
The most common types of brass are free cutting, gilding metal, engraving, arsenical and high tensile. Each type has a unique makeup to make it ideal for its intended purposes. Here are some examples of each type.