The various types and grades of brass

Brass is one of the main materials for creating tubes. It is a widely used alloy that has become a staple in various areas with significant roles in many industries. Thanks to its wonderful corrosion resistance, ductility, and strength, it is a great choice for furniture, musical instruments, plumbing, and more. What we want to focus on here are the types and grades of brass that are available. Then if you want professional services like bending and tube drilling, you can come to us.


First, there are the types of brass.

Tube drillingAlpha is one of them. They hold 67-72% copper alongside 28-33% zinc. The materials are malleable. You can use them in forging, pressing, and similar applications. Also, you can work them cold.

Alpha brasses only have a single phase as well as a face-centred cubic crystal structure. When we say alpha phase, we are referring to a substitution of zinc inside copper. The materials have characteristics like the latter, but are also strong and robust. The best formability is obtained at 32% zinc. The brasses also come with a richer golden tone thanks to the high copper content too.

Second on the list is alpha-beta. These contain 55-65% copper and 35-45% zinc. Also know as duplex, they are appropriate for hot working.

The interesting thing here is they include α and β phases. The latter is what’s called ordered body centric cubic. So, zinc atoms exist at the centres of cubes. It is also stronger and tougher than α. Usually you’d work these brasses hot. Thanks to the high zinc content, these are brighter than alpha ones. At 45% zinc, the alloy reaches its highest strength. Talk to us if you need first rate tube drilling services.

Next up is beta. These contain 50-55% copper and 45-50% zinc. You can only work them hot. But, they are stronger, harder, and suitable for casting. It makes them great for high strength applications. Thanks to the high zinc and low copper content, they are also some of the brightest and least golden of the standard brasses.

Last on this list is gamma. They contain 33-39% copper and 61-67% zinc. Moreover, there are Au-Zn and Ag-Zn brasses. These have Ag 30-50% and Au 41%. The gamma phase is what’s called an inter metallic compound possessing a cubic lattice structure, Cu5Zn8. People use these materials for specialist applications such as high strength fasteners and electrical contacts.


There are also multiple brass alloys that we want to discuss. It is important to look at the specific material when you consider things like tube drilling and bending.

A notable one is alloy 260. Another name for this is cartridge brass. The particular alloy is roughly 70% copper and 30% zinc, with impurities. It has great hot formability and you can cold-work it easily. Uses include fasteners, hardware, and ammunition.

One other is alloy 280. It holds around 60% copper and 40% zinc, alongside a trace amount of iron. Referred to as muntz metal, it was frequently utilised as a cost efficient alternative to copper sheeting for boat hulls. It was chosen to prevent the formation of marine organisms on them.

We’ll end with alloy 360. It has 60% copper, 35.5% zinc, and as much as 3.7% lead. Also, there are trace levels of iron. The brass is one of the simplest to process, offering 100% machinability. Furthermore, it is a wonderful choice for soldering and brazing applications. Machinists and designers use this alloy for hardware components, valves, fasteners, and fittings.

Our tube bending services can accomplish everything you need them to

At Multiform Tubes Engineering Ltd, we use our expert services to provide tubing for many applications. Examples include automotive and pre formed furniture products. Thanks to our pre drilled holes, assemblies proceed quicker and more easily.

So, if you’d like to experience our tube drilling work for yourself, feel free to contact us. You can ask us to provide it for all kinds of needs.