Brass Tubes—Compositions, Properties and Standards

Brass tubes are one of the most common forms of the brasses and are suitable for a range of uses including fluid transfer, mechanical and architectural applications.

There are a number of different grades available, covered by the BS EN standards for the manufacture of brass tubes, offering a wide range of properties and characteristics. The table below is designed to assist with the selection of brass tube grade by providing compositions, mechanical properties and some general remarks, so a choice can be made depending on the manufacturing process and final application.

For example, alpha brasses (containing a minimum of 63% copper, e.g. CW505L) generally offer thinner wall sections and are more suited to cold forming operations such as bending and swaging. Leaded brass tubes are available in thicker sections and are commonly used where machining is required or for bearing/wear type applications. Addition of aluminium and tin offers enhanced corrosion resistance, and the higher alloyed brasses (e.g. CW713R) have enhanced strength and wear resistance.

For architectural applications colour or finish may be the primary consideration and the palette can vary from the reddish golden colours of the low zinc containing alloys to the attractive yellow gold of the >30% zinc brasses. Brass tubes can also be manufactured as round or square, as extruded, or extruded and drawn. They can be made with a plain finish, as reeded (fluted) tube or even with fins. Please use the table below to find the brass tube material that offers the combination of composition and properties to meet your needs.

Compositions given are the EN materials appropriate to designation number. Composition ranges may be outside those of previous BS specifications, therefore compliance should be checked before assuming suitability for applications. Note that not all elements listed as impurities are shown here. For the full chemical composition you should refer to the standard or the Copper and copper alloys. Compendium of compositions and products PD CEN/TS 13388.

This table includes brasses previously included in BS 2871 ‘Specification for copper and copper alloys. Tubes’:

  • ‘Part 2 Tubes for general purposes’
  • ‘Part 3 Tubes for heat exchangers’

These brasses are now included in the following EN standards for individual product forms:

  • EN 12449 ‘Copper and copper alloys—Seamless, round tubes for general purposes’
  • EN 12451 ‘Copper and copper alloys—Seamless, round tubes for heat exchangers’
  • EN 12452 ‘Copper and copper alloys—Rolled, finned seamless tubes for heat exchangers’

For more detail, the appropriate standard(s) should be consulted. Visit our page with details of standards and links to the BSI shop.

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Brass Tubes—Compositions, Properties and Standards

Old BS
CW500LCuZn5CZ12594.0- NiRem.130-280230-34040-850-125This red brass has very good cold working properties. Electrical conductivity 44% IACS.
CW501LCuZn10CZ10189.0- NiRem.90-340260-42060-2060-125This 90/10 brass is used for driving bands for projectiles, architectural hand rails, communication systems—wave guides and bellows for fluid and steam systems. Approved for drinking water contact under 4MS.
CW502LCuZn15CZ10284.0- NiRem.85-360280-43050-2065-140This 85/15 brass is used for condenser and cooling units, gauges and instrument tubes, musical instruments, and decorative uses.
CW503LCuZn20CZ10379.0- NiRem.115-450315-38055-1575-13580/20 brass is used for architectural applications.
CW505LCuZn30CZ10669.0- NiRem.180-320280-42050-1055-12070/30 brass is the most ductile of all brass tubes and is used for architectural applications.
CW507LCuZn36CZ10763.5- NiRem.180-300290-43050-1255-1152/1 brass has good ductility and used for architectural applications. Approved for drinking water contact under 4MS.
CW508LCuZn37CZ10862.0- NiRem.120-480360-54060- 1075-170This common brass is used for sanitary and decorative applications and aerials. Approved for drinking water contact under 4MS.
CW509LCuZn40CZ10959.0- NiRem.110-400370-47040-575-130This 60/40 brass has limited cold working properties and architectural applications. Approved for drinking water contact under 4MS.
CW600NCuZn35Pb162.5- NiRem.180-340370-44045-1060-120Machining brass has good to very good cold working properties.
62.0- NiRem.90-350340-46540-1080-150The lead content of this free cutting brass gives good machinability but ductility is reduced.
CW602NCuZn36Pb2As61.0- As
0.3 Ni
Rem.250-340290-44040-1080-140Dezinctification resistant. Machinability index 70%
CW603NCuZn36Pb3CZ12460.0- NiRem.250-350300-46035-1080-140Free machining brass. Machinability index 100%. Very limited cold working. Approved for drinking water contact under 4MS.
CW604NCuZn37Pb0.5-62.0- NiRem.200-320300-44045-1060-120Low lead, good cold forming. Machinability index 60%.
CW605NCuZn37Pb1-61.0- NiRem.200-320300-44045-1060-120Fair cold forming. Machinability index 70%.
CW607NCuZn38Pb1-60.0- NiRem.250-350340-47035-1080-140Fair cold forming. Machinability index 85%.
CW608NCuZn38Pb2-60.0- NiRem.250-350340-47035-1080-140Fair cold forming. Machinability index 90%.
CW614NCuZn39Pb3CZ121Pb357.0- NiRem.250-370360-50025-885-150Very limited cold forming. Machinability index 100%. Approved for drinking water contact under 4MS.
CW617NCuZn40Pb2CZ12257.0- NiRem.250-370360-50025-885-150Very limited cold forming. Machinability index 90%. Approved for drinking water contact under 4MS.
CW700RCuZn13Al1Ni1Si1CZ12781.0-84.00.7- NiRem.115-330380-55050-1065-170Aluminium-nickel- silicon brass used for hydraulic and pneumatic control and instrumentation circuits in aviation, offshore and marine applications. Used to transmit high pressure oxygen (non-sparking).
CW702RCuZn20Al2AsCZ11076.0-79.01.8-2.30.05-0.02-0.06 As
0.1 Ni
Rem.115-460360-56060-2075-165Aluminium brass possesses excellent corrosion resistance in clean seawater and is a favoured alloy for condenser tubes.
CW706RCuZn28Sn1AsCZ11170.0-72.5-0.05-0.02-0.06 As
0.1 Ni
0.9-1.3 Sn
Rem.110-410320-46060-2075-165Admiralty brass has good corrosion resistance in brackish water.
CW707RCuZn30AsCZ12669.0- As
Rem.110-420310-46560-2070-16570/30 arsenical brass is the standard composition for condenser tubes. The arsenic is added to inhibit dezincification.
CW708RCuZn31Si1-66.0-70.0-0.80.7-1.30.5 NiRem.200-250440-49020-15110-145Silicon brass gives good wear resistance.
CW710RCuZn35Ni3Mn2AlPb-58.0-60.00.3-1.30.2- Mn
2.0-3.0 Ni
Rem.290-390490-54015-10125-165Complex brass, hard and wear resistant.
CW713RCuZn37Mn3Al2PbSiCZ13557.0-59.01.3-2.30.2-0.80.3-1.31.0 Fe
1.5-3.0 Mn
1.0 Ni
0.4 Sn
Rem.250-350540-64010-5145-195High tensile strength, good for sliding parts.
CW716RCuZn38Mn1Al-59.0-61.50.3- Mn
0.6 Ni
Rem.200-270440-51015-10115-155Complex brass with good sliding properties.
CW718RCuZn39Mn1AlPbSi-57.0-59.00.3-1.30.2-0.80.2-0.80.8-1.8 Mn
0.5 Ni
Rem.200-270440-51015-10120-160Complex silicon brass.
CW723RCuZn40Mn2Fe1-56.5- Fe
0.6 Ni
1.0-2.0 Mn
Rem.170-270440-49015-10115-155Complex brass.
CW724R CuZn21Si3P -75.0-77.00.05 0.102.7-3.50.02-0.10 P
0.2 Ni
Rem.350-450500-65015-10110-210Lead free, free machining. Approved for drinking water contact under 4MS.
Brass Tubes
and Standards

Table Notes:
Compositions are given as either a range or a maximum.
1N/mm2 = 1MPa