Is Brass a Solution?

This is a plumbing fitting made of brass, an alloy of copper and zinc.
This is a plumbing fitting made of brass, an alloy of copper and zinc. Torsten Bätge, Creative Commons License

Question: Is Brass a Solution?

Is brass a solution or just a mixture? Here is a look at brass and other alloys in terms of chemicals solutions and mixtures.

Answer: Brass is an alloy made primarily of copper, usually with zinc. Alloys in general may be solid solutions or they simply be mixtures. Whether brass or another alloy is a mixture depends on the size and homogeneity of the crystals in the solid.

Usually you can think of brass as a solid solution consisting of zinc and other metals (solutes) dissolved in copper (solvent). Some brasses are homogeneous and consist of a single phase (such as alpha brasses), so the brass meets all of the criteria of a solution. In other types of brass, the elements may crystallize in the brass, giving you an alloy that meets the criteria of a mixture.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Is Brass a Solution?" ThoughtCo, Feb. 5, 2017, thoughtco.com/is-brass-a-solution-or-mixture-603728. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, February 5). Is Brass a Solution? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/is-brass-a-solution-or-mixture-603728 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Is Brass a Solution?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/is-brass-a-solution-or-mixture-603728 (accessed November 23, 2017).