Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze

 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-29-2011, 05:48 AM   #1
Pro
 
Electric_Light's Avatar
 
Trade: student again
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: helicopter
Posts: 853
Rewards Points: 500

Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


Putting plastic and ferrous metals aside for now, we have the aforementioned materials.

The actual tubes are usually made from copper. Pipe to thread adapters are usually made from copper and sometimes machined extruded brass.

Valve bodies are usually made from brass, but I have not seen a pure copper valve body. It seems like the newer ones are utilizing forged and extruded manufacturing and the old ones are rough and apparently cast brass.

Would someone explain why this is?
Why not make pipe brass?
Why not make everything copper?
Electric_Light is offline  

Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ContractorTalk.com DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

   
 

Old 01-29-2011, 07:50 AM   #2
Pro
 
ABLE1's Avatar
 
Trade: Security Alarm Installer (Low Voltage)
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 821
Rewards Points: 522

Re: Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


Well being a non-plumber as you are?? And me being a non-plumber as I am. I have decided to answer your question in the simple terms that we both can understand. I will just provide words that will help rather than trying to go into the details of a metallurgist.

Structural strength
Ease of manufacturing
Long term life of product
Co$t

Hope that gets your thread going.

Have a good weekend.

Les

__________________
ABLE1
ABLE1 is offline  
Old 01-29-2011, 11:08 AM   #3
The Grand Wazoo
 
KillerToiletSpider's Avatar
 
Trade: It blowed up real good!
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 3,690
Rewards Points: 1,406

Re: Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


They make brass pipe, the Carbide and Carbon in Chicago has all brass risers.
__________________
A flush is better than a full house.
KillerToiletSpider is offline  
Old 01-29-2011, 09:02 PM   #4
Pro
 
Mike's Plumbing's Avatar
 
Trade: ooo
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4,967
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


Almost everything in life comes down to money. When the question of WHY comes up in a manufactured part is is always about how to produce something of quality quickly and at a better profit.

I know that in the old days the brass was always red brass and now it's a cheaper version called yellow brass. Even at the scrap yard you get a premium for red brass. Red brass has copper in it.

Copper is too soft to use as quality castings for many high abuse parts not to mention it's expensive. Again...it's always about money.

Mike
__________________
see ya!
Mike's Plumbing is offline  
Old 01-30-2011, 11:02 AM   #5
Contractor of the Month
 
Inner10's Avatar
 
Trade: Control Systems
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Ottawa, ON
Posts: 12,949
Rewards Points: 4,904

Re: Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


Quote:
I know that in the old days the brass was always red brass and now it's a cheaper version called yellow brass. Even at the scrap yard you get a premium for red brass. Red brass has copper in it.
Mike they all are mostly copper.

Red brass is brass + bronze with more copper.

80+% copper with a mix of tin lead and zinc.

Yellow is 30% zinc 70% copper.

If i remember correctly from class.
Inner10 is online now  
Old 01-30-2011, 11:04 AM   #6
the pipe master
 
protechplumbing's Avatar
 
Trade: plumbing, solar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Central, Fl
Posts: 500
Rewards Points: 500

Re: Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


See replies in blue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric_Light View Post
Putting plastic and ferrous metals aside for now, we have the aforementioned materials.

The actual tubes are usually made from copper. Pipe to thread adapters are usually made from copper and sometimes machined extruded brass.

Valve bodies are usually made from brass, but I have not seen a pure copper valve body. It seems like the newer ones are utilizing forged and extruded manufacturing and the old ones are rough and apparently cast brass.

Would someone explain why this is?
Why not make pipe brass? They do make brass pipe in both yellow and red brass. Few contractors will use it due to the high cost sch 40 brass vs CTS copper and of course the newer plastics. Sch 40 brass seems to hold up for 100 years or more in this area. It all comes down to money.
Why not make everything copper? #1 price. #2 pure copper is very soft and has poor strength. Alloying it with tin and or zinc and a few trace metals greatly increases it's mechanical strength while saving cost. Of course the down side is that the alloys will be more susceptible to de-alloying corrosion process. This is especially true as you add more alloy metals and decrease the percentage of copper in the alloy. Of course, the less copper you use, the cheaper the alloy is to make.
__________________
Plumber, Repiping, Replumbing, Leak Detection, Solar Water Heater, Polk County Plumber, Lakeland Plumber, Winter Haven Plumber
protechplumbing is offline  
Old 01-30-2011, 11:06 AM   #7
the pipe master
 
protechplumbing's Avatar
 
Trade: plumbing, solar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Central, Fl
Posts: 500
Rewards Points: 500

Re: Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


I believe in order to be called red brass, the alloy must contain 15% or less alloy metals. In other words, it must contain at least 85% copper to be called red brass.

Also, if the primary additive is tin, you have bronze.

If the primary additive is zinc, you have brass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inner10 View Post
Mike they all are mostly copper.

Red brass is brass + bronze with more copper.

80+% copper with a mix of tin lead and zinc.

Yellow is 30% zinc 70% copper.

If i remember correctly from class.
__________________
Plumber, Repiping, Replumbing, Leak Detection, Solar Water Heater, Polk County Plumber, Lakeland Plumber, Winter Haven Plumber
protechplumbing is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to protechplumbing For This Useful Post:
Inner10 (01-30-2011)
Old 01-31-2011, 04:03 AM   #8
Pro
 
Electric_Light's Avatar
 
Trade: student again
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: helicopter
Posts: 853
Rewards Points: 500

Re: Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


Would someone explain why this is?
Why not make pipe brass? They do make brass pipe in both yellow and red brass. Few contractors will use it due to the high cost sch 40 brass vs CTS copper and of course the newer plastics. Sch 40 brass seems to hold up for 100 years or more in this area. It all comes down to money.


Why not make everything copper? #1 price. #2 pure copper is very soft and has poor strength. Alloying it with tin and or zinc and a few trace metals greatly increases it's mechanical strength while saving cost. Of course the down side is that the alloys will be more susceptible to de-alloying corrosion process. This is especially true as you add more alloy metals and decrease the percentage of copper in the alloy. Of course, the less copper you use, the cheaper the alloy is to make.

So, if brass has higher strength, and lower cost, wouldn't brass plumbing be cheaper? The first answer and second answer you gave contradicts each other
Electric_Light is offline  
Old 01-31-2011, 08:50 AM   #9
Pro
 
Mike's Plumbing's Avatar
 
Trade: ooo
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4,967
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


You should go visit an engineering site for this information
__________________
see ya!
Mike's Plumbing is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Mike's Plumbing For This Useful Post:
Anti-wingnut (01-31-2011)
Old 01-31-2011, 12:19 PM   #10
the pipe master
 
protechplumbing's Avatar
 
Trade: plumbing, solar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Central, Fl
Posts: 500
Rewards Points: 500

Re: Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


Due to sch. 40 braas pipe being so much thicker, it is more expensive than CTS size copper pipe, even though the alloy is cheaper than copper.

Brass cannot be extruded into a thin tube like copper. It will crack when deformed unlike copper. It must be cast or spun into sch 40 pipe which is about 3 times thicker walled.

I hope that answers your question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric_Light View Post
Would someone explain why this is?
Why not make pipe brass? They do make brass pipe in both yellow and red brass. Few contractors will use it due to the high cost sch 40 brass vs CTS copper and of course the newer plastics. Sch 40 brass seems to hold up for 100 years or more in this area. It all comes down to money.


Why not make everything copper? #1 price. #2 pure copper is very soft and has poor strength. Alloying it with tin and or zinc and a few trace metals greatly increases it's mechanical strength while saving cost. Of course the down side is that the alloys will be more susceptible to de-alloying corrosion process. This is especially true as you add more alloy metals and decrease the percentage of copper in the alloy. Of course, the less copper you use, the cheaper the alloy is to make.

So, if brass has higher strength, and lower cost, wouldn't brass plumbing be cheaper? The first answer and second answer you gave contradicts each other
__________________
Plumber, Repiping, Replumbing, Leak Detection, Solar Water Heater, Polk County Plumber, Lakeland Plumber, Winter Haven Plumber
protechplumbing is offline  
Old 01-31-2011, 08:00 PM   #11
Pro
 
Electric_Light's Avatar
 
Trade: student again
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: helicopter
Posts: 853
Rewards Points: 500

Re: Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


Quote:
Originally Posted by protechplumbing View Post
Due to sch. 40 braas pipe being so much thicker, it is more expensive than CTS size copper pipe, even though the alloy is cheaper than copper.

Brass cannot be extruded into a thin tube like copper. It will crack when deformed unlike copper. It must be cast or spun into sch 40 pipe which is about 3 times thicker walled.

I hope that answers your question.
I've seen some paper thin walled brass tubes at hardware store bins. Really thin 1/8 ones that you could snap in half between two fingers. I came up with some search result for "extruded brass" too.

So, brass alloys can't be made into thin walled hollow tubes?

The nipples are thick since they have to endure the physical stress of getting turned with a pipe wrench and screwing into or having things screwed into.
Electric_Light is offline  
Old 01-31-2011, 08:56 PM   #12
Capra aegagrus
 
Tinstaafl's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeler
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 16,074
Rewards Points: 3,178

Re: Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric_Light View Post
So, brass alloys can't be made into thin walled hollow tubes?
Obviously, they can. That doesn't mean they'll be suitable for any given purpose.

Speaking of purpose, what does this have to do with the concerns that contractors generally come here to discuss? Seems more like idle curiosity chit-chat to me. Not that there's anything wrong with that, just perhaps there is a better venue for exploring such questions.
Tinstaafl is online now  
The Following User Says Thank You to Tinstaafl For This Useful Post:
protechplumbing (02-01-2011)
Old 02-01-2011, 09:42 PM   #13
the pipe master
 
protechplumbing's Avatar
 
Trade: plumbing, solar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Central, Fl
Posts: 500
Rewards Points: 500

Re: Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


Yeah, and you usually get about 10 years max out of those.

Ever had one of those 22gauge brass p-traps disintegrate in your hands before? That's why they have to make it in sch. 40 thickness and they make copper much thinner. Copper resists corrosion better (with all other things being equal) even though it is mechanically weaker.

If they were to make copper into sch. 40 threaded pipe it would have to problems. Extreme cost and it would deform when you took a wrench to it due to it's high ductility and poor strength.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric_Light View Post
I've seen some paper thin walled brass tubes at hardware store bins. Really thin 1/8 ones that you could snap in half between two fingers. I came up with some search result for "extruded brass" too.

So, brass alloys can't be made into thin walled hollow tubes?

The nipples are thick since they have to endure the physical stress of getting turned with a pipe wrench and screwing into or having things screwed into.
__________________
Plumber, Repiping, Replumbing, Leak Detection, Solar Water Heater, Polk County Plumber, Lakeland Plumber, Winter Haven Plumber
protechplumbing is offline  
Old 02-01-2011, 09:45 PM   #14
the pipe master
 
protechplumbing's Avatar
 
Trade: plumbing, solar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Central, Fl
Posts: 500
Rewards Points: 500

Re: Copper Vs Brass Vs Bronze


Copper valves do exists, they aren't that common though. The few you do see are usually wrought as copper doesn't cast as well as brass does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric_Light View Post
Putting plastic and ferrous metals aside for now, we have the aforementioned materials.

The actual tubes are usually made from copper. Pipe to thread adapters are usually made from copper and sometimes machined extruded brass.

Valve bodies are usually made from brass, but I have not seen a pure copper valve body. It seems like the newer ones are utilizing forged and extruded manufacturing and the old ones are rough and apparently cast brass.

Would someone explain why this is?
Why not make pipe brass?
Why not make everything copper?

__________________
Plumber, Repiping, Replumbing, Leak Detection, Solar Water Heater, Polk County Plumber, Lakeland Plumber, Winter Haven Plumber
protechplumbing is offline  


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Nibco cast bronze valve or Red White forged brass? Kingstud Plumbing 3 07-29-2010 10:51 PM
Pex, brass fittings and mineral buildup Anti-wingnut Plumbing 1 03-18-2010 10:56 PM
soldering copper to brass? wayne3434 Plumbing 20 08-27-2009 03:04 PM

Join Now... It's Fast and FREE!

I am a professional contractor
I am a DIY Homeowner
Drywall Talk is for
PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTORS ONLY!

At DrywallTalk.com we cater exlusivly to professional contractors who make their living as a contractor. Knowing that many homeowners and DIYers are looking for a community to call home, we've created www.DIYChatroom.com DIY Chatroom is full of helpful advices and perfect for DIY homeowners.

Redirecing in 10 seconds
No Thanks
terms of service

Already Have an Account?