Brass is a metal alloy comprised of copper and zinc, offers a wide range of properties such as high corrosion resistance, hardness, thermal conductivity, strength, and workability. Brass is considered a low-friction and non-magnetic alloy and can range in colors from dark red to golden yellow.
Brass is commonly used to make precision machined nuts, bolts, threaded parts, electrical terminals, taps, and injector parts.
Brass machined parts have several key advantages compared to other materials. Brass parts are durable, cost-efficient, and can create a tighter seal for fittings. In addition, brass machined parts have a high heat and corrosion resistance. They’re easy to machine and join, and manufactured to your specifications and standards.
Read on to learn the differences between the two brass alloys we commonly use: brass 353 and brass 360.
Machined brass parts offer:
Brass 353, also referred to as clock brass, is often used to fabricate small components with precise measurements, such as clock and watch parts, because of its excellent machinability.
Brass 360 is known as free cutting brass, this alloy is the most common type of brass. It exhibits excellent machinability and formability, as well as suitability for soldering and brazing operations. It’s commonly used for hardware components, fittings, valves, and fasteners.
These two grades of brass are similar in composition, but a difference of a few percent can have a big impact on the machining and capabilities.
353 brass consists of approximately 62% copper, 36.2% zinc, 1.8% lead, and trace amounts of iron.
360 brass consists of approximately 61.5% copper, 35.5% zinc, 3% lead, and 0.35% iron.
It is well suited for parts with knurling or threading, as well as moving parts that are subject to frictional forces. Brass 353 has a machining cost factor of 0.7 when compared to steel 12L14.
Brass 353 isn’t ideal for welding or hot working, but it’s excellent for soldering and possesses better formability than Brass 360. Brass 353 can also be annealed.
Due to brass 353’s excellent machinability and the high return value of scrap, the net cost of machining brass is competitive with steel.
Brass 360 alloy has the highest machinability of all copper alloys, extremely popular for parts that require strength, weight, or a polished surface finish.
Brass 360 has a very wide range of applications, and is ideal for industrial and electronic industries. Unlike steel alloys, brass also forms a thin protective patina that helps prevent rust.
Brass 360 has the highest machinability of all copper and brass alloys. It has a machining cost factor of 0.6 when compared to steel 12L14. It has fair hot forming properties and is not ideal for cold forming, welding, soldering, and brazing. Brass 360 can also be forged and annealed.
Due to brass 360’s excellent machinability and the high return value of scrap, the net cost of machining brass is competitive with steel.
Whether you’re looking for strength, formability, or a specific finish, both Brass 353 and Brass 360 offer compelling advantages. Your choice will depend on the specific requirements of your project. Need help deciding? Reach out to us, and our expert machinists will guide you through the process.
Tensile Strength: Both Brass 353 and 360 exhibit high tensile strength, making them resistant to breakage under tension. While Brass 353 offers a tensile strength of 310-345 MPa, Brass 360 boasts a slightly higher value of 325-360 MPa, giving it a slight edge in applications requiring higher durability.
Yield Strength: Yield strength indicates the amount of stress at which a material begins to deform plastically. Brass 360 typically shows a yield strength of 115-140 MPa, whereas Brass 353 comes in a tad lower at 100-125 MPa.
Hardness: When it comes to hardness, Brass 360 often scores higher on the Brinell scale, making it more resistant to deformation or indentation. On the other hand, Brass 353, though slightly softer, offers better formability.
Density: Brass alloys, being denser than materials like aluminum, provide heft and sturdiness to machined parts. Brass 353 has a density of 8.53 g/cm³, whereas Brass 360 slightly varies with 8.44 g/cm³.
Melting Point: The melting point can be crucial for applications subjected to high temperatures. Brass 353 and 360 have a similar melting point of ~930°C/1,705°F.
Thermal Expansion Coefficient: This coefficient determines how the material expands or contracts with temperature variations. Brass 353 has a coefficient of 20.6 x 10⁻6/°C, whereas Brass 360’s coefficient is 20.6 x 10⁻6/°C. Understanding this is essential when designing components for environments with fluctuating temperatures.
Surface Finish: Upon machining, both these brass alloys provide a superior surface finish. Brass 353, due to its fine grain structure, yields a smooth and polished appearance. This makes it ideal for parts where aesthetics play a crucial role. Brass 360, while also offering a polished finish, is often preferred when a balance between appearance and mechanical properties is required. It’s important to note that the surface finish can also be influenced by the specific machining processes and tooling employed.
How does temperature affect the strength and durability of Brass 353 and 360 parts?
Both Brass 353 and 360 can experience reduced strength at elevated temperatures. However, for most typical applications, temperature variations within normal ranges have a minimal effect on their durability.
Which brass type is more suitable for parts that will be subjected to frequent mechanical stress?
Brass 360, with its higher tensile strength and hardness, is generally more suitable for parts subjected to regular mechanical stress.
How does the hardness of Brass 353 compare to Brass 360 in terms of wear resistance?
Brass 360 is typically harder than Brass 353, resulting in better wear resistance.
Which brass alloy is more resistant to tarnishing over time?
Both brass types can develop a patina over time, but Brass 360, with its slightly different composition, tends to be more resistant to tarnishing.
How do the corrosion resistance properties of Brass 353 compare to Brass 360?
Both alloys offer good corrosion resistance. However, Brass 360 is often slightly superior due to its composition, making it more resistant to certain environmental factors.
Can Brass 353 and 360 be welded?
Both Brass 353 and 360 can be challenging to weld due to their lead content. It’s essential to use proper techniques and filler materials. Generally, soldering or brazing are recommended over welding for these alloys.
How do the costs compare between Brass 353 and Brass 360 parts for high-volume orders?
Costs can vary based on market conditions. Brass 360, being more common, is often slightly less expensive than Brass 353 for high-volume orders. However, exact pricing would depend on current prices and specific order details.
What kind of maintenance or cleaning is recommended for parts made from these brass alloys?
Regular cleaning with a mild detergent followed by rinsing with water is sufficient. For tarnished parts, a brass cleaner or polish can be used. It’s important to avoid abrasive materials that might scratch the surface.
Talk with one of our team members if you have any questions about ordering precision machined brass parts.
Phone: (585) 467-0520
85 Excel Drive
Rochester, NY 14621