Monday, February 9, 2015

Why Copper and Zinc Match: Square Brass Tubing from a Molecular Scale

Alloys like brass weren't formed out of pure luck. Prior to the first millennium, the technology needed to make brass was primitive at best. The difference in the melting points of copper and smithsonite, also known as zinc spar or zinc carbonate, made it possible to create brass but primarily for decorative purposes. It was only when copper and zinc were viewed as separate metals did the quest for discovering alloys took off. By the Industrial Revolution in Europe, brass increased in demand. Brass plates provided materials for applications ranging from shipbuilding to agriculture. Still, virtually nobody bothered to ask why copper and zinc made the perfect pair.

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