COPPER ALLOY

COPPER ALLOY

Copper and copper alloys offer a suite of infinitely recyclable materials providing many property combinations suited to a wide range of applications that facilitate and enhance our daily lives.

Copper’s performance can be expanded to suit many industrial applications by alloying: making a solid material out of two or more different metals. Good electrical and thermal conductivity, strength, ductility and excellent corrosion resistance are just some of the properties that copper and its alloys offer. Copper alloys are grouped into families, based on their composition.

There are more than 400 copper alloys, each with a unique combination of properties, to suit many applications, manufacturing processes and environments.

Pure copper has the best electrical and thermal conductivity of any commercial metal. Today, over half of the copper produced is used in electrical and electronic applications and this leads to a convenient classification of the types of copper into electrical (high conductivity) and non-electrical (engineering). Go to the Coppers section.

Copper forms alloys more freely than most metals and with a wide range of alloying elements to produce the following alloys:

Brass is the generic term for a range of copper-zinc alloys with differing combinations of properties, including strength, machinability, ductility, wear-resistance, hardness, colour, hygienic, electrical and thermal conductivity, and corrosion-resistance.

Bronze alloys are made from copper and tin, and were the first to be developed, about four thousand years ago. They were so important that they led to a period in time being named the Bronze Age.

Gunmetals are alloys of copper with tin, zinc and lead and have been used for at least 2000 years due to their ease of casting and good strength and corrosion resistance.

Copper-nickel alloys have excellent resistance to marine corrosion, high thermal conductivity and low susceptibility to attachment of marine macro-organisms. The addition of nickel to copper improves strength and corrosion resistance, but good ductility is retained.

Nickel silver alloys are made from copper, nickel and zinc, and can be regarded as special brasses. They have an attractive silvery appearance rather than the typical brassy colour. 

Beryllium-copper is the hardest and strongest of any copper alloy, in the fully heat treated and cold worked condition. It is similar in mechanical properties to many high strength alloy steels but, compared to steels, it has better corrosion resistance.

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