Brass is a man-made alloy that is made up of varying combinations of copper and zinc. Other metals can be added to the mix, however, in order to create brass that embodies different properties, such as colour and strength. If you have an item that you think might be brass, there is a way to test it both at home and in the workplace to determine whether you are correct or not.
Step 1: Weigh the metal (in pounds) using a set of scales. Then, convert this number to kilograms by dividing it by 2.2046 (since this is how heavy a single kilogram is in pounds).
Step 2: Take a graduated beaker and fill it with water until you reach the 100ml line. Drop the item you suspect is brass into the beaker, watching how high the water level rises. Record the new level. Then, subtract the first water level from the second, which leaves you with the volume of the item.
Step 3: As a milliliter is equivalent to a cubic centimeter, you are now able to convert the volume of the suspected brass item into cubic meters by dividing it by 1,000,000 cubic centimeters per cubic meter.
Step 4: Now you can divide the mass of the item by the volume, which will leave you with the density of the item in kilograms per cubic meter. If the density falls into the known range for brass, you can conclude that that is the metal you are working with.
Whilst this is not the easiest of tests to complete, as you are required to have a number of unusual tools on hand, it is one way that you can definitively determine whether the metal you are working with is brass or not. If the density is not in the known range for brass, check other ranges to work out what type of metal the item is.