Brass is made from copper and zinc. It is an alloy, a chemical compound made of two or more metals made by melting them together. The physical properties of the brass depend on the relative amounts of copper and zinc in the mixture.
Brass is commonly used for decorative purposes. It exhibits excellent heat conductivity but does not conduct electricity as well as copper. Hospitals use brass surfaces to avoid spreading infection; pathogens die in a few hours on copper or copper-alloy surfaces. High levels of zinc in brass render it hard and brittle, while higher levels of copper render it malleable.