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Uses for Red Brass Alloys 230 & 260 | Armature & Jewelry Wire

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Uses of Alloy 230 Red Brass Wire

Red brass, often referred to as brass 230 or even called gunmetal in the U.S., is a copper zinc alloy comprised of roughly 85% copper and 15% zinc. Red brass, called so for it’ much warmer and richer color opposed to the more common yellow brass (brass 260), comes in many different products and forms. At Arcor Electronics, we specialize in offering brass wire for use as armature wire or jewelry wrapping, but red brass has been used for many products throughout the years. From making instruments to pipe fittings, let’s find out what makes red brass such a useful alloy.

What are some Properties of Red Brass 230?

Unlike yellow brass, red brass is a much tougher and sturdier alloy. This is due to the high concentration of copper used to form the alloy. Because brass itself has a low melting point and has a greater capacity to ‘flow’ or act as a liquid when melted, brass is a very easy material to cast with. Brass 230 is also a much cheaper allot to create as the metals used in its creation are easily available. Brass, due to the smoothness of it’s texture, is also great for low friction applications. Brass 230 also boasts a great acoustic property, making it a popular metal for the creation of instruments.

Because brass is not ferromagnetic (IE: attracted to magnets) it is actually very easy to recycle and almost 90% of all brass alloys, such as brass 230 or brass 260, are recycled. That also makes it a great material to use where magnetism could pose an issue. Red brass is also very resistant to corrosion from steam and salt water, giving it a higher survivability in these conditions.

What is Brass 230 Used For?

Because brass is so easy to work with it finds it’s way into a variety of different products and is easy to fabricate in a variety of ways. Some of these methods include blanking, etching, piercing/punching, knurling, stamping and more. At Arcor, we make our brass wire by using a drawing process, which brass 230’s great machinability lends itself to.

Because red brass has an easy to polish surface and a beautiful gold color, brass 230 is often used as a substitute material in place of much more expensive metals such as gold. Things such as trim, weather strip, lipstick containers, costume jewelry and more are made from red brass.

A popular use for red brass’ look and corrosion resistance is using brass wire for wire wrapped jewelry and wire sculptures. It also makes it a popular choice for armature wire, pipe, fittings, fire hose coupling, pump lines and other plumbing materials, where corrosion from water is a concern. And due to brass 230’s its flow characteristics and lower melting point, it is easy to solder and use in artistic structures and metal work.

Due to the great acoustics of brass and the rich gold color, many instruments such as trumpets, trombones, French horns and bells are made from red brass. This is why many of the instruments featuring the material are referred to as the ‘brass’ section of an orchestra. Brass wire has even seen popular use for the strings on acoustic guitars as well.

With an easy to machine structure and a beautiful gold color, red brass is a great material to use in jewelry, consumer products, and architecture while its acoustic properties also lend it to fine instruments. And with its corrosion resistant properties is useful for industrial and plumbing uses as well. Brass 230 is definitely one of the most worldly of all the alloys we machine!