Copper is a major driver of trade, so much so that it has long been used to determine or predict the status of global economy. With telecommunication, transportation, and construction taking a new height, demand for copper is expected to go up as well. One apparent reason for this is that there’s no other metal that can substitute copper or any of its alloys. So it’s safe to say that the metal will not be obsolete anytime soon.
The term copper, when used for economic purposes, represents all products that has copper as the base material. In truth, there are quite many copper alloys that have established themselves well to a point of creating whole new industries. Each of these alloys come in a variety of types of their own and with a set of unique properties that are useful for so many applications. Copper in its pure form, however, has its own valuable properties and benefited industries to boot.
Archaeological finds have long proven that copper is the first metal discovered and utilized by man. Its first practical application dates back 10,000 years. After several millennia of experiment, ancient metallurgists found out about the many unique properties of copper and put them to good use. Some of these properties are malleability and ductility, which makes copper the staple material for weapon, jewelry, and cookware making.
Today, copper is utilized for many of its other properties. Electrical wires and most electronic components are made of copper thanks to the metal’s high electrical and thermal conductivity. It also exhibits antimicrobial properties, and so many water filtration and conveyance systems are made of copper as well.
When copper is combined with zinc, a gold-like metal called brass is produced. It’s resemblance with gold is so striking you can easily mistake it for the latter in any given situation. Those who are into gold-based interior design or architecture can save a significant amount of money by using brass instead of the real thing. Nonetheless, the color as well as the properties may change by increasing or reducing the amount of zinc in the alloy.
Perhaps the most popular application of brass is the manufacture of musical instruments. In fact, an entire family of musical instruments is named after it. Compared to other metals, it produces the best sound. Apart from having an amazing acoustic property, brass is also prized for its machinability, making it a good material for various types of machine parts.
One of the most widely held metals in history, bronze is actually just an alloy of copper. It is produced by combining copper and tin. Like brass, this combination also results in a material that has a good acoustic property, although bronze is often used for making bells instead of other musical instruments. Other elements, such as arsenic, phosphorus, aluminum, and silicon, are sometimes added to produce other versions of bronze to be utilized for special applications.
Bronze plays a crucial role in the design and construction of heavy machinery. Because it exhibits low friction and does not spark when struck against other metals, it is suitable for making gear and bearing. Of course, sculptures all around the world relish bronze’s amazing ability to expand while solidifying from a liquid state. This makes the metal easy to carve and press.
Now that you have basic knowledge of copper and two of its best alloys, it will be much easier for you to shop around for the materials you need for your project. Whether you need bronze bars and brass channel suppliers, you can get the highest quality from a reputable supplier like Rotax Metals. They specialize in copper supplies.
Copper: Preliminary Data for July 2017, ICSG.org
Learn About the Common Uses of Copper, TheBalance.com