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How to Identify Brass – A Complete Guide

How to Identify Brass

Did you come across a metal object but don’t know what it is? It may be brass. This guide will help you identify brass to determine if it is indeed the metal you are looking for.

What Is Brass?

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. It has a yellow hue, though it sometimes appears more golden or reddish depending on the amount of zinc in the alloy. Brass can be used for musical instruments, automotive parts, home decor, jewelry, and more. It is inexpensive and easy to form into various shapes, making it one of the most popular alloys today.


Testing for Brass

The simplest way to test whether an item is made of brass is to perform a magnetism test. Since brass does not contain iron or steel, it will not stick to a magnet—if your item sticks to a magnet, it is not brass. You can also check for patina; most items made from brass develop a patina over time as they oxidize when exposed to air. Patina forms on brass in shades of greenish-blue, giving it its unique look and feel over time. Lastly, you can use a chemical test such as nitric acid testing; this method will dissolve any non-brass metals leaving behind only pure brass if the item passes the test.



Identifying whether an item is made from brass or another metal doesn’t have to be difficult—just follow these simple steps! Remember that performing a magnetism test, checking for patina, or using nitric acid testing are all good indicators that will help you identify whether something is made from brass. With this knowledge under your belt, you’re ready to go out and find exactly what type of metal objects you have! Good luck!

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