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 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.
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.
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.
Mineral Commodity Summaries 2017, minerals.usgs.gov