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Proportion by weight (%)
Alpha brasses are malleable, can be worked cold, and are used in pressing, forging, or similar applications. They contain only one phase, with face-centered cubic crystal structure. With their high proportion of copper, these brasses have a more golden hue than others
Also called duplex brasses, these are suited for hot working. They contain both α and β' phases; the β'-phase is body-centered cubic and is harder and stronger than α. Alpha-beta brasses are usually worked hot. The higher proportion of zinc means these brasses are brighter than alpha brasses.
Beta brasses
Beta brasses can only be worked hot, and are harder, stronger, and suitable for casting. The high zinc-low copper content means these are some of the brightest and least-golden of the common brasses.
There are also Ag-Zn and Au-Zn gamma brasses, Ag 30–50%, Au 41%.
These are too brittle for general use. The term may also refer to certain types of nickel silver alloys as well as Cu-Zn-Sn alloys with high proportions (typically 40%+) of tin and/or zinc, as well as predominantly zinc casting alloys with copper additives. These have virtually no yellow coloring at all, and instead have a much more silvery appearance.