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Differentiating Copper, Brass, and Bronze Red Metals

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Red metal alloys include copper, brass, and bronze materials that emanate a reddish hue that is distinguishable from all other metal types. Red metals also offer several characteristic features that separate them from other metals, such as steel, aluminum, nickel, and stainless steel.

What Are Red Metals?

All red metals are initially derived from copper, sharing similarities such as excellent thermal and electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance, but each offers distinct advantages.

Red Metal Manufacturing Process

For centuries copper has been of the most integral developmental tools on which societies are based. As the base metal for brass and bronze, copper is one of the few alloys that can be used in its natural state. Within the red metal manufacturing process, copper is mixed with other alloying elements to create various brass and bronze alloys.


As the base alloy for brass and bronze metals, copper is available in several alloys and is commonly used for countless applications. Copper is best known for its electrical and thermal conductivity, malleability, corrosion resistance, formability, and anti-bacterial qualities. As such, copper is often used in clinics, hospitals, and food and beverage production.
  • Excellent thermal and electrical conductivity
  • Wear and corrosion resistance
  • Enhanced strength when flexed, drawn, or formed
  • Anti-microbial and corrosion-resistant benefits
  • Pressure vessels
  • Heat exchangers
  • Cotter pins
  • Rivets
  • Radiators
  • Gaskets
  • Roofing
  • Gutters


Brass is created when varying amounts of zinc are added to copper. The amount of zinc added to the mix will determine which alloy is made within the red metal manufacturing process. The increased amounts of zinc are added to give brass increased strength and ductility while also creating a lighter hue.
  • Strength
  • Durability
  • Ductility
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Gears
  • Bearings
  • Valves
  • Ammunition casings
  • Fasteners
  • Architecture
  • Marine hardware


When copper is combined with tin and aluminum, silicon, phosphorous, and manganese, bronze alloys are created. Just like brass, the varying amounts of alloying elements added to the copper base will determine the overall properties and characteristics of the bronze. Bronze offers several benefits, including enhanced hardness and corrosion resistance.
  • High thermal and electrical conductivity
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Cost-effective
  • Non-magnetic
  • Dimensionally precise
  • Excellent surface finish
  • Hardware (bearings, bushings, etc.)
  • Musical instruments
  • Plaques
  • Architectural designs

The IMS Difference

What separates IMS from other metals companies? With an abundance of metal options and customer service that is second to none, IMS has you covered with the following advantages:
  • Next-day delivery of processed material via our trucks
  • Same-day pick-up in Will-Call
  • No minimum purchase
  • Support of Just-in-Time manufacturing processes
  • Salespeople that act as an extension of your purchasing department (we will get any metal products you need)
  • Material management (stocking and delivery on a scheduled basis)
  • Credit lines with good terms
  • Knowledgeable staff that knows metal
  • Seven stores are open six days a week (check each location for specific times)
  • Shop by metal alloy

Find the Red Metals You Need

Searching for premium red metal products? IMS stocks a wide selection of copper and brass alloys in the shapes and sizes you need. We also provide metal cutting services to make purchasing easy and convenient. Stop by one of our California or Arizona locations or get a copper or brass alloy quote today.

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