Is Brass a Solution?

Brass and Copper Pipes
© Corbis/VCG / Getty Images

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

What Is Brass?

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.