How to Temper Brass Metal

••• Photology1971/iStock/GettyImages

Brass is composed of 65 to 85 percent copper and 15 to 35 percent zinc. Like many metals, brass hardens when worked, such as by bending, hammering or otherwise shaping it, which makes it difficult to work and shape further. At the atomic level, hardening results from dislocations between layers of atoms. If a metalsmith heats brass to the point where the atoms possess sufficient energy to rearrange themselves back into well-ordered layers, and then rapidly cools the metal -- a process called tempering -- the metal returns to its softer, more pliable state.

    Place the brass object in an oven or kiln and set the temperature to 565 degrees Celsius or 1050 Fahrenheit. Leave the object in the oven for at least 2 hours.

    Put on a pair of heat-resistant gloves and use a set of long tongs to remove the object from the oven and place it on a fire brick or aluminum block for approximately 3 minutes.

    Fill a large bucket with water, then grasp the object again with tongs and quickly submerge it in the water. After 8 or 10 seconds, remove the object from the bucket. The object should now be cool to the touch and tempered.

    Things You'll Need

    • Oven or kiln capable of 565 degrees Celsius or 1050 Fahrenheit
    • Long tongs
    • Heat-resistant gloves
    • Fire brick or block of aluminum
    • Large bucket

    Warnings

    • Placing the hot brass object in water may result in the rapid generation of steam. The use of gloves and protective eyewear during this step is strongly recommended.

Related Articles

Types of Temporary Magnets
Different Types of Alloys & Use
How to Calculate Distance Angle
How to Determine if Copper Is Real
How to Find the Inertia of an Object
How to Make Pennies Turn From Copper to Silver to Gold
Science Facts About Magnets for Kids
What Is Zinc Alloy?
How Does a Microscope Magnify Objects?
How to Calculate Density of Metal
What Chemicals Rust Metal Rapidly?
How to Calculate Roundness
How to Demagnetize Steel
Chemicals Used in Gold Plating
Number of Protons in an Uncharged Atom
How to Sterilize Owl Pellets
How to Melt and Cast Aluminum
Bronze Plating Process
Can Brass Be Magnetized?

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!