Difference Between Copper and Brass (With Table)

Metals are found in abundance and are very essential to man. Generally, they conduct both heat and electricity efficiently. Metals are used in the field of astrology and astrophysics. Metals can be seen everywhere, like in the construction and manufacture of vehicles, buildings, furniture and other household items such as utensils.

The elements present around us can be categorised as metals, alloys and non-metals. Many people get confused between copper and brass. However, both are used by a layman in various activities. In this article, we will discuss how copper differs from brass.

Copper vs Brass

The difference between copper and brass is that copper is an elementary metal, but brass is an alloy. Copper constituted of copper atoms only. Whereas brass is constituted mainly of zinc atoms, copper atoms and lead atoms, tin atoms in traces. Both copper and brass are good conductors of both heat and electricity. They are malleable and ductile as well.

Copper is pure metal, and it is made up of copper atoms only. This metal is mainly constituted of atoms of copper. There are some impurities present in a micro amount as well. It gives a rustic finish. This metal appears reddish-brown. The metal is corrosion-resistant. Thus, it does not react with water that easily. The use of copper is extensive in the production and manufacture of sculpture creations, pipe fittings, wires and pipes.

Brass is an alloy. It is an amalgamation and is made up of different metals. Brass is mainly constituted of zinc and copper. However, it also has lead, tin and aluminium present in it. It gives a lighter finish. This alloy appears bright golden. The alloy shows good resistance towards corrosion in plain water, but in the case of salty water, it reacts. The use of brass is extensive for decorative purposes.

Comparison Table Between Copper and Brass

Parameters of ComparisonCopperBrass
AppearanceRustic finish.Lighter finish.
DefinitionPurely a metal made up of copper atoms.Brass is an alloy made up of an amalgamation of various metals.
Corrosion ResistanceGood corrosion resistance.Get corroded only in salty water.
CompositionCopper atoms, some impurities in micro amount.Mainly contain zinc, copper: lead, tin, aluminium in less amount.
ColourReddish-brownBright golden coloured.
UsesManufacture and production of pipe fittings, pipes, sculpture creations, wires, etc.Decorative purposes use.

What is Copper?

Copper is metal with a shiny appearance having a reddish-brown colour. It is not made up of any other elements. Thus copper is a pure elemental metal. This metal possesses quite fewer magnetic properties. When copper is exposed to a very big magnetic field, then it shows a response. This is extensively used in the formation of electrical conductors.

As coppers are one of the best and efficient conductors of electricity. Copper metal possesses poor strength. Thus, its use is limited in the case of structural applications. As copper can not be broken that easily, as they are not that strong. The ductility and malleable properties of copper is quite high. Copper can be drawn into thin thread-like structures. Therefore, the use of copper can be seen in the jewellery industry and in electrical applications. It is also a good conductor of heat.

This metal is also used in the manufacture and production of alloys of metals. Copper has a very high degree of resistance towards corrosion. Thus, they are used in the manufacture and production of pipe fittings and pipes.

What is Brass?

Brass is an alloy, thus an amalgamation of copper and zinc. However, apart from copper and zinc, other elements are also mixed to make Brass. It has good durability and malleability. Brass appears bright golden. Brass has high resistance towards corrosion.

However, brass is corrosive when it reacts with saltwater. Either aluminium or zinc is used with zinc and copper in the making of Brass. The presence of a high amount of zinc in the brass makes it more ductile and gives good strength—the bright golden colour of brass changes according to the percentage of zinc added to the mixture.

Brass is used extensively for decorative purposes. This is because of its high malleability and good appearance. Brass is a kind of a soft metal alloy having good strength. Thus, the brass should be kept at a distance from explosive gases and sparks. The addition of aluminium in brass makes it corrosion resistant and improves strength too. Lead is also used in the making of brass for the improvement of mechanical characteristics.

Main Differences Between Copper and Brass

  1. Copper is purely a metal that is made up of copper atoms only. Whereas brass is an alloy, which is made up of an amalgamation of different metals.
  2. Copper is mainly composed of atoms of copper and some impurities in micro amount as well. However, brass is mainly composed of zinc and copper. It also has lead, tin and aluminium added to it.
  3. Copper gives a rustic finish. Whereas brass gives a lighter finish.
  4. Copper appears reddish-brown. On the other hand, brass appears bright golden.
  5. Copper is corrosion corrosion-resistant react with water easily. However, brass shows resistance towards corrosion, but it reacts with salty water.
  6. Copper’s use is extensive in the manufacture of wires, sculpture creations, pipe fittings and pipes. On the other hand, brass is generally used for decorative purposes.


To many people, copper and brass look similar. However, there lie some factors that differentiate copper from brass. The main difference being the type of element they are out of the three. There are three types of elements: metals, non-metals and alloys. Brass is a metal alloy, and copper is purely a metal. Copper appears reddish-orange.

However, brass appears yellow due to the presence of zinc content in it. When the musical instruments are made with copper, they produce mellow and soft sounds. But when the same instruments are made up of brass, they produce a high pitched sound. Copper is easier and softer in comparison to brass for casting and moulding.


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00170-007-1241-3
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/000705980798318708
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