Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.
By comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin. Bronze does not necessarily contain tin, and a variety of alloys of copper, including alloys with arsenic, phosphorus, aluminium, manganese, and silicon, are commonly termed "bronze". The term is applied to a variety of brasses and the distinction is largely historical, both terms having a common antecedent in the term latten.
Brass is a substitutional alloy. It is used for decoration for its bright gold-like appearance; for applications where low friction is required such as locks, gears, bearings, doorknobs, ammunition casings and valves; for plumbing and electrical applications; and extensively in musical instruments such as horns and bells for its acoustic properties. It is also used in zippers. Brass is often used in situations where it is important that sparks not be struck, as in fittings and tools around explosive gases.
Famous quotes containing the word brass:
“no little brass rollers
and small easy wheels on the bottom
my townspeople what are you thinking of!
A rough plain hearse then
with gilt wheels and no top at all.”
—William Carlos Williams (18831963)
“Thee for my recitative,
Thee in the driving storm even as now, the snow, the winter-day
Thee in thy panoply, thy measurd dual throbbing and thy beat
Thy black cylindric body, golden brass and silvery steel,”
—Walt Whitman (18191892)
“... [a] girl one day flared out and told the principal the only mission opening before a girl in his school was to marry one of those candidates [for the ministry]. He said he didnt know but it was. And when at last that same girl announced her desire and intention to go to college it was received with about the same incredulity and dismay as if a brass button on one of those candidates coats had propounded a new method for squaring the circle or trisecting the arc.”
—Anna Julia Cooper (18591964)