Questions & Answers

Give the composition of the following alloys:
(a) German silver
(b) Brass

Answer Verified Verified
Hint: German silver varies in composition with the percentage of three elements which means German silver is composed of three elements. Brass is a substitutional alloy; atoms of the two constituents may replace each other within the same crystal structure. Now, try to figure out and answer the question.

Complete step by step answer:
First, let us know what an alloy is,
So, basically in simple words alloy is a homogeneous mixture of two or more different metals. Alloys have different physical properties that the constituent metals from which they are made. We try to combine metals in such a way that the alloys formed will have desirable properties.

(a) German silver:
German silver is a silvery white alloy composed of copper (50-80%), zinc (10-35%) and nickel (5-35%). Keep in mind that the ratio of these metals can vary.
 It was used as an inexpensive, non-tarnishing substitute for silver.
German silver is used because of its hardness, toughness and resistance to corrosion.
Because of its high electrical resistance it is also used in heating coils.

(b) Brass:
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, typically 63% of copper and 37% of zinc.
There are varieties of brass with varying depress composition. The most designated ones are C21000, C22000, C23000, C24000 and C26000 having zinc content at 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% and 30% respectively.
The most common variety is C26000, which is abundantly used in automotive, connector and housing industries.
It is also known as Poor Man’s Gold due to its yellow color.
Therefore, German silver is composed of copper, zinc and nickel, whereas brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.

Note: Remember that there is no silver in German silver and it derives the name just because of its silvery appearance. Sliver is now prohibited for alloys that don’t contain the metal.
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