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The brasses are the most widely used and least expensive of the copper-based alloys. They possess relatively good corrosion resistance, moderately high strength, and in some compositions exceptionally good ductility and excellent forming characteristics when shaped by pressing, deep drawing, rolling and machining. Improved tensile properties are the result of cold working. After cold working, they can be softened and recrystallized by appropriate annealing. Adding lead to the brasses in amounts of 0.5 to 4%, results in free cutting of free-machining alloys in which the elemental lead is present as uniformly dispersed particles. The high content of lead results in a relatively low ductility and plasticity.

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