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Brass Rods: The Safe Choice

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The following content is sponsored by the Copper Development Association

Brass Rods: The Safe Choice

From airbags to firefighting equipment, components made from brass rods play a vital role in creating a safer environment.

This infographic from the Copper Development Association illustrates three use cases for brass. This is the first of three infographics in our Choose Brass series.

Why Brass?

Brass is one of the most reliable metals for industrial and other applications. It contains little to no iron, protecting it from oxidation, which can cause other materials to fail over time.

Additionally, the malleability of brass ensures tight and leak-free metal-to-metal seals for threaded joints, minimizing the risk of costly and dangerous system failures. Brass’s durability ensures critical system components function properly for years.

Brass for Safe Water Systems

Exposure to lead in water can cause various health problems, including neurological damage, developmental delays, and cardiovascular diseases.

As a result, the U.S. sets minimum health-effect requirements for chemical contaminants and impurities indirectly transferred to drinking water from products, components, and materials used in water systems.

Currently, only brass rod alloys are designated as “acceptable materials” according to national standards.

Brass is also essential for ensuring workplace safety, particularly in high-risk manufacturing environments.

Using Brass for Safe Manufacturing and Industrial Environments

Brass is used extensively in industrial applications such as machinery components, valves, fittings, architectural elements, bearings, and gears.

The machinability of brass rods also means longer tool life and higher productivity for manufacturers of precision parts.

The microstructure of brass helps break up metal chips generated during machining operations, preventing long and stringy chips that can crash machines and seriously injure operators.

Additionally, brass’s non-sparking properties make it ideal for tooling, fittings, and components in high-risk industries such as oil & gas, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, paint manufacturing, power plants, and explosives.

Brass for Safer Communities

Many pieces of equipment in our daily lives also rely on brass rod parts to function. Control valves in gas stoves, BBQs, and home furnaces made from brass rods reduce the risk of deadly gas leaks and fires.

Moreover, brass is ideal for firefighting equipment due to its corrosion resistance, durability, heat resistance, and non-sparking properties.

Fittings made from brass rods ensure that the brakes and airbags in our vehicles work when needed.

Brass and other copper-based alloys are also naturally antimicrobial, helping prevent diseases when used in high-touch surfaces such as door handles.

These are only some of the ways that brass rods help build a safer world for everyone.

Explore the Advantages of Brass Rod Solutions.

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Misc

Visualizing Global Aluminum Production

China dominates global production with nearly 60% share.

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Voronoi graphic of aluminum production in 2023.

Visualizing Global Aluminum Production

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

This infographic shows estimated aluminum smelter production by country in 2023, based on data from the most recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Commodity Summaries, published in January 2024 .

From this data, we can see that China leads as the top producer, accounting for nearly 60% of the world’s smelter capacity. Its neighbor India is the second-largest producer, making only a tenth of China’s output.

Country2023 Aluminum Smelter Production (tonnes)% of total
🇨🇳 China41,000,00059%
🇮🇳 India4,100,0006%
🇷🇺 Russia3,800,0005%
🇨🇦 Canada3,000,0004%
🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates2,700,0004%
🇧🇭 Bahrain1,600,0002%
🇦🇺 Australia1,500,0002%
🇳🇴 Norway1,300,0002%
🇧🇷 Brazil1,100,0002%
🌍 Rest of the World9,460,00014%
Total69,560,000100%

Responsible for 5% of global aluminum output, Russia has been targeted by recent sanctions from the U.S. and the UK.

The sanctions include prohibiting metal-trading exchanges from accepting new aluminum produced by Russia and barring the import of the Russian metal into the U.S. and Britain. The actions are aimed at disrupting Russian export revenue amid Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The World’s Most Common Metal

Aluminum is the primary material used for making cans, foil, and many other products. It originates from bauxites, rocks composed of aluminum oxides, and various minerals.

Approximately 25% of annually produced aluminum is utilized by the construction industry, while another 23% is allocated to vehicle frames, wires, wheels, and other components within the transportation sector. Aluminum foil, cans, and packaging constitute another significant end-use category, accounting for 17% of consumption.

Despite its extensive use, aluminum is still plentiful. Aluminum is the world’s most common metal by crustal abundance, making up 8.2% of the Earth’s crust.

According to the USGS, global resources of bauxite are estimated to be between 55 billion and 75 billion tonnes and are sufficient to meet world demand for metal well into the future.

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Brass Rods: The Sustainable Choice

Brass rods can help cut emissions in machine shops, be recycled without losing properties, and contribute to a cleaner environment.

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Teaser of bar chart and pie chart highlighting how brass rods can reduce emissions in machine shops, be recycled without losing properties, and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Brass Rods: The Sustainable Choice

Brass rods have a powerful lineup of green attributes, making them the sustainable choice for manufacturers and end-users of precision machined and forged parts.

This infographic, from the Copper Development Association, shows how brass rods can reduce emissions in machine shops, be recycled without losing properties, and contribute to a cleaner environment.

The Brass Rod Circular Economy

The metallurgical properties of brass allow pre- and post-consumer sources of brass scrap to be recycled with no loss in properties.

Brass scrap can retain over 90% of the original material value. In addition, brass doesn’t need energy-intensive processing, unlike steel and aluminum, which must be smelted and refined before being recycled into new products.

As a result, there is a greater chance that steel and aluminum scrap will end up in landfills.

Most brass-rod alloys produced in North America contain 95% or higher recycled content.

Closed-loop recycling of brass keeps this valuable engineering material out of landfills, reducing the need for new mines and all the environmental impacts that entails.

Higher Machinability Leads to Lower Operational Carbon Emissions

Machinability is how easily a material can be worked using cutting processes. It directly impacts the amount of energy required to produce finished parts.

With typical machine shops producing millions of parts each year, the carbon impact can be significant.

Here’s how brass and steel compare when manufacturing complex parts using computer numerical control (CNC) machining.

MaterialBrassSteel
TypeFree-cutting brass (C36000)Free-cutting steel (12L14)
Maximum machinability rating (0-100)10021
Metal Removal Rate (cubic inches per minute)0.2380.114
Time to remove material (hours)161,111336,111
Energy required to produce parts (kilowatt-hour)9,47518,931

In this example, using brass represented a savings of 3,510 kg in carbon dioxide (CO2).

The significantly longer tool life enabled by brass also reduces the need for new cutting tools, further decreasing emissions.

High recycled content and exceptional machinability make brass rods the sustainable choice for manufacturers and end-users seeking to reduce their environmental footprint and support the transition to a low-carbon future.

Explore the advantages of brass rod solutions.

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