brass or copper

Hello I am trying to find out if a memorial plaque is copper or Brass anyone out there help me with this problem as we want to add names to a plaque and we need to add a plaque of the same ilk Jood

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It may well be bronze.

Copper is a pinkish red and weathers to either bright green or to a reddish brown (depending on weather conditions), and eventually to near-black.

Brass and copper are easily distinguished. Brass is yellow, and generally weathers to a dark gold. In extremis, it might be almost black. With the right sort of corrosion, brass may "de-zincify" in spots and turns pink, like copper (because that's what the spots are).

Bronze is harder to distinguish, because there are a range of formulations for it, from almost-copper to almost-brass. Generally it begins as a reddish brown and turns a dark brown or near-black. It's almost indistinguishable from copper when weathered.

I'd expect you can tell brass and bronze apart pretty easily, even if weathered. If they're really dirty, try making a tiny scratch with an awl, penknife or small file.

Another way to tell (certainly in the UK) is that brass was usually engraved and sometimes inlayed with coloured enamels. Bronze was usually cast with raised letters.

I'd be surprised if your plaque is copper. Copper is quite soft and bronze would be used instead.

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Andy Dingley

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