Crafting brass is a complex journey that involves more than meets the eye. It takes both science and artistry to transform raw materials into beautiful objects. Creating brass involves several processes before it can become its recognizable bright gold appearance. Each step adds something special until we finally have one of mankind’s most enduring materials — brass.
Melting brass begins by heating the metal until it reaches its low melting point at 1,999 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the metal has reached its melting point, it will liquefy at the edges first before flowing towards the center of the container where it is heated.
Gradually increasing the temperature throughout this process, to avoid uneven heating or cooling, is critical. Without a gradual climb in temperature, cracks may be present in the final product. The zinc present in a brass alloy gives the finished product a yellowish tint and increases its strength, while in copper alloys produce a deeper color and add elasticity to the alloy.
Cold Rolling and Annealing
Cold rolling is a process that involves passing the brass through a series of rollers at different temperatures. This process reduces the thickness of the sheet, as well as increases its length. Cold rolling improves the material’s flexibility, tensile strength, hardness, and yield strength.
The annealing process helps improve the mechanical properties of brass. Annealing means heating brass to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time. After cold rolling or annealing operations have been performed, it will be ready for further processing according to your specific needs.
Hot rolling is used to produce flat products, like sheet or plate, by passing them through a series of rollers under high pressure. The pressure causes the material to elongate and become thinner as it moves through each successive pair of rollers until it reaches its desired thickness.
This process can occur at room temperature or above 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit. In brass manufacturing, hot rolling produces large coils of material that is then further cut-to-size into pattern sizes.