These silver coloured copper-nickel-zinc alloys containing 10-20% nickel (but no silver) can be regarded as special brasses. They polish to a fine silvery colour which accounts for their use over several centuries.
In most respects they show similar corrosion characteristics to the brasses but the higher nickel versions have superior tarnish resistance and resistance to stress corrosion cracking.
They are available in all forms and are used for tableware (silver-plated to give EPNS), telecommunication components, better quality keys, high quality fishing reels and rod fittings, food manufacturing equipment, jewellery, model making, tool brush anchor wire and pins, musical instruments, e.g. ‘silver bands’, flutes, test probes and contact springs.
Precision cast nickel silver clarinet key ‘trees’, ready for finishing (Courtesy Boosey and Hawkes Ltd)