Brass vs Bronze vs Muntz Metal

Brass, bronze, and Muntz metal are all metallic alloys commonly used in the design community for entrances, revolving doors, and storefronts.  All incorporate copper into their composition.   Although very similar, these metals have specific features that you should consider when making a selection. The following information will compare some of the defining and unique characteristics of the two.

Types

  • Brass

    Naval Brass, Alpha Brass, Alpha-Beta Brass, Beta Brass, Gamma Brass, White Brass

  • Bronze

    Commercial Bronze, Silicon Bronze, Phosphor Bronze, Aluminum Bronze, Manganese Bronze, Bearing Bronze, Copper-Nickel

  • Muntz Metal

    Admiralty Metal

Colors

  • Brass

    Muted yellow - similar to gold.

  • Bronze

    Reddish-brown

  • Muntz Metal

    Reddish-yellow naturally -turning red-brown or gray-brown when weathered

Uses

  • Brass

    Doorknobs, door handles, musical instruments, valves, gears, zippers, plumbing, electronics

  • Bronze

    Doors, sculptures, submerged bearings, boat fittings, clips, propellers, bells & cymbals

  • Muntz Metal

    Architectural applications, decorative panels, trim work

Composition

  • Dawson fabricates brass entrances from commercially available sheet products. The most common are:

  • Naval Brass (ASTM B21), #464 Naval Brass

    Nominally composed of 60% copper, 40% zinc, and a trace of tin

  • Commercial Bronze (90/10), #220 Commercial Bronze

    Nominally composed of 90% copper and 10% zinc

  • 280 Muntz Metal

    60% copper, 40% zinc, and a trace of iron,

Benefits

  • Brass

    • higher malleability than bronze
    • joining, plating, polishing, and finishing characteristics
    • easily machined

  • Bronze

    • tough and durable
    • resistant to corrosion
    • resistant to metal fatigue

  • Muntz Metal

    • resistant to corrosion
    • less expensive than brass

Disadvantages

  • Brass

    • typically susceptible to corrosion (except naval brass)
    • subject to stress cracking
    • requires a good deal of maintenance

  • Bronze

    • generally softer and weaker
    • more expensive

  • Muntz Metal

    no known disadvantages