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Copper and Brass

Copper and Brass Sales—Are You Sure You Know Which Metal Is Best for Your Projects?

Copper and Brass

The annual copper production in the United States continues to grow due to the increasing demand mostly by the construction, transportation, electrical, and electronics industries. Although the increment fluctuates year after year, the copper mining industry sees only an uptrend in domestic production, which is expected not to dip anytime soon regardless of the state of global supply.

If you are planning a project that involves the use of a considerable amount of copper supplies, now is the best time to commence while production is still at its peak. Before you go about the project, however, it helps to fill yourself in with vital information about copper and its types that you will be using in making decisions. Keep in mind that each alloy of copper has its unique properties that work for select applications. Find the metals with the properties that you need for the project. To help you decide, let’s compare copper with its major alloys—bronze and brass.

 

Copper

Copper is one of the first metals discovered by man. Its use dates back 10,000 years, revolutionizing many fields of technology, including hunting, architecture, and construction all in its purest form. This is all thanks to copper’s unique set of properties, the most useful of which include corrosion resistance and high electrical and thermal conductivity. In fact, the only reason it can last for thousands of years is that it is extremely resistant to corrosion. It usually takes that long to see real signs of damage on its surface.

When exposed to oxygen, copper’s surface forms a layer of new material called patina. This later becomes copper’s shield against further deterioration. It doesn’t easily melt when exposed to extreme heat, making it a perfect material for machine parts. With its electrical conductivity, copper can convey high voltage electricity without burning up, which explains why most of today’s wires and cables are made of copper. To better understand the properties of copper and know where to buy copper sheet, ask a metal expert from any of the well-known suppliers in your area.

 

Brass

An alloy of copper and zinc, brass is widely known for its gold-like appearance. With the right combination, it can look exactly like gold, making it the perfect alternative if you want fancy-looking decorative and structural features in your building. Apart from the elegant appearance, brass also has its share of functional properties that can be used for various practical functions.

Due to its malleability and ductility, which by the way it inherited from its main component copper, it can be hammered or pressed into thin sheets or drawn into small wires. This metal also has a good acoustic property, which is why many types of musical instrument are made from it. The copper in brass is known for its antimicrobial properties as well, and therefore brass tubes are preferred for pipes used in water systems.

 

Bronze

A metal so popular it was named after an entire era, bronze has been the most widely produced copper alloy in the ancient times. This metal is formed by combining copper and tin. Sometimes, other elements such as aluminum, manganese, and nickel are added to produce an even stronger and more resilient variant.

Bronze has high wear and tear resistance, a critical property for machine bearings that are exposed to friction and torsion forces. It is capable of producing a unique kind of patina as well. With its ability to expand as it cools down to its re-crystallization state, bronze is practically the perfect metal for sculpture.

Now that you have basic knowledge of the differences between copper and brass sales, you can better choose the most efficient material for your project. Whether you need copper sheets or brass tubes, it will be much easier to pick the right alloy. The only thing you have to remember is to look for it in the right supplier. You’ll have a better chance if you will turn to a reliable metal supplier in New York, such as Rotax Metals.

 

Source:

Mineral Commodity Summaries 2017, minerals.usgs.gov

Understanding Corrosion and Why Copper and Brass Suppliers Are Not Worried about It

Corrosion

Most people believe that the world they live in is a calm and comfortable place. In reality, it is more hostile than they can possibly imagine. Everything on Earth is locked in a constant battle for survival. The environment is so fragile that even the slightest shift in the balance could push life to extinction.

It is only when living things learned to adapt and evolve that the world became less hostile. Yet the fact remains that when the world can no longer support life as we know it, everything will perish and decompose. All that will be left is a barren wasteland with nothing more than dust and rocks.

The famous adage “from dust you came, and to dust you shall return,” is originally addressed to all living things. It pertains to the natural process of decomposition when a carbon-based material loses resistance against the effects of its environment. It turns out that this principle applies to inorganic materials as well. The only difference is that their decomposition takes a lot longer and is influenced by a greater variety of factors. This process is more commonly known as corrosion.

 

Corrosion of Metals

Corrosion takes place when a certain material is placed in an environment where it is chemically unstable. Metals are among the best examples of materials that undergo this process. Despite being tougher and more resilient than most other materials, they have their share of weakness. There are certain chemicals that they don’t react well to. If you’ve seen the film Batman vs. Superman, particularly the part where Batman was able to weaken Superman by exposing him to kryptonite, it works pretty much the same way.

Understanding corrosion is important because it affects the properties for which metals are used in a vast range of applications. By knowing which element in an alloy reacts to which substance, metallurgists can more easily determine the best way to adjust the alloy’s composition to form a more corrosion-resistant material.

Perhaps that most widely held catalyst for corrosion is oxygen because most metals react to it. This has been proven by Antoine Lavoisier, the French chemist who also authored the law of conservation of mass and played a critical role in recognizing oxygen as an element. His experiments revealed that iron, together with all other ferrous metals, reacts to oxygen by forming iron oxide or rust. If not for Lavoisier’s discovery, iron (which makes up most of today’s man-made structures) would have not been utilized for applications where air exposure is involved.

 

Resisting Oxygen-Related Corrosion

Metals that do not contain iron usually resist corrosion with oxygen. The best example of this type of metal is copper and all of its alloys. Instead of forming rust when exposed to oxygen, copper forms a layer of greenish material known as patina. This layer does not affect the interior of the metal and rather encapsulates it to prevent further corrosion.

Alloys of copper, such as brass and bronze, exhibit this property as well. In most cases, they resist corrosion caused by even more potent substances, including saltwater and certain acids. They also hold up to extreme temperatures, which explains why most manufacturers prefer them for making machine parts. It’s no wonder reliable bronze and brass suppliers make so much fortune.

Brass and bronze are alloyed with other metals to form even stronger and more corrosion-resistant metals. Muntz metal, a type of alpha-beta brass, for instance, is used for making cover plating for ships due to its high tolerance to saltwater corrosion. This type of brass resists fouling, too. Another popular example is silicon bronze, which essentially is bronze combined with a little bit of silicon. This metal is almost if not stronger than steel, making it a good material for making pumps and boilers or for applications where the strength of steel is needed but not its weakness to rusting.

 

Other Substances that Can Trigger or Accelerate Corrosion

Oxygen is not the only element that can trigger or accelerate corrosion. In fact, any solid, liquid, or gas substances can cause corrosion depending on the metal exposed to them. Acids (such as sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and hydrochloric acid) and bases (such as sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide) are also notorious for corroding many different types of alloy.

Some metals could also corrode when exposed to dehydrating agents, such as phosphorus pentoxide or calcium oxide; halogens and halogen salts, such as bromine and sodium hypochlorite; organic halides; and acid anhydrides.

 

Using Corrosion to Your Advantage

There’s no denying the destruction corrosion can bring to one’s project. If left unchecked, it can lead to construction failure, consequently endangering people’s lives. However, it does not always have to be viewed negatively. There are certain applications for which it can be beneficial, such as furniture making and metal disposal.

It takes many years for bronze to achieve a kind of patina that gives it an antique look. For those who sell bronze furniture and believe that lost time is lost money, however, waiting that long is outright counterproductive. This is why they resort to a process called patination in which they speed up the formation of patina. It involves controlled exposure of bronze to a certain corrosive substance until the beautiful brown and green color, which usually takes years to produce, emerges in a few days.

Working with metals, especially for projects that require stability and strength among other critical properties, is a high risk. You have to be able to tell which metals corrode to which substances first. It would be better, though, to use metals that you know won’t succumb to corrosion that easily. Why not go to a trusted copper sheet supplier like Rotax Metals and ask what specific types of metal supplies you need. They specialize in all kinds of copper alloy, and so you will definitely find the materials you need and get the value for your money in the end.

 

Sources:

Chemistry of Oxygen (Z=8), chem.libretexts.org
Corrosion, newworldencyclopedia.org
Corrosion 101: What Is Corrosion?, eoncoat.com

Bronze Bars and Brass Channels: The Evolution of Copper

evolution of copper

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.

 

Copper

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.

 

Brass

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.

 

Bronze

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.

 

Sources:

Copper: Preliminary Data for July 2017, ICSG.org
Learn About the Common Uses of Copper, TheBalance.com

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