Is that brass or bronze?

Though technically a brass alloy, 385/c385 brass is generally referred to as architectural bronze. The two alloys are quite similar though with copper as the main ingredient in both. Brass is copper with zinc added, bronze is copper with tin added.

Brass has been an extremely popular alloy across the globe for thousands of years. Tools made from brass have been found in China that are about 7,000 years old, and brass artifacts have been found in the Middle East, India, and the Mediterranean area dating back around 4,000 years.

The ancient Greeks and Romans extensively used brass as well, though the exact nature of the alloy wasn’t understood until the end of the Medieval period. Brass remains popular today due to its strength, appearance, ease of machining, and the ease with which it can be recycled.

385 vs 360?

385 brass/architectural bronze is commonly used for ornamental and decorative purposes such as trim, thresholds, hinges, and hardware.  It is mechanically similar to the 360 brass (free machining brass). The main difference being that the 360 has a slightly higher lead content. Consequently, 360 is marginally more machinable than 385. The 360’s machinability rating is 100, whereas the 385 is 90.

C385 Brass/architectural bronze square bar

385 brass/architectural bronze has a yellow-gold color that is pleasing to the eye and which also makes it a very good color match with both 280 Muntz Sheet and 464 Naval brass. The material has good corrosion resistance when outdoors, though only fair resistance to weathering in marine environments. Like all brasses, 385 is nonmagnetic, and it has a density of .303 – .315 lbs/cu in (8.4 – 8.73 g/cu cm). This alloy has great formability when heated, making it popular for extrusions and forgings but it is rated as poor for cold working.

385 brass/architectural bronze can be soldered and brazed, it is very machinable but cannot be hardened by heat treating.

Specs available for 385 brass/architectural bronze:

Round rods – ASTM B455    Square rods – ASTM B16

385 brass/architectural bronze chemical and mechanical properties

Melting Point 1610° F – 877° C
Copper (Cu) – 55-59%
Iron (Fe) – 0.35%
Lead (Pb) – 2.5-3.5%
Remainder – Zinc (Zn)
Soldering – Excellent
Brazing – Good
Welding – Not recommended

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