Tag

copper sheet supplier

Copper Applications and Where to Buy Copper Sheets for Copper Crafts, Manufacture, and Other Uses

Copper production is a multimillion dollar industry. It ranks third in world metal consumption after steel and aluminum. In 2017, the total amount of copper produced from mines all over the world is estimated 19.7 million metric tons. That’s roughly twice the amount of zinc produced on the same year. With that huge production, you may probably be wondering why you don’t come across objects made of copper very often. This begs the question, “Where does all that copper go?” Before we get to that, let us first get to know copper better.

What is copper and why is it useful?

Copper is a metallic element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is one of the first metals to be discovered, even much earlier than gold and silver. Major copper producing countries include Chile, Peru, and China. Although the United States has its own copper mines, it still imports from these countries to sustain its immense need for the metal. Even though about 44 percent of its total annual copper consumption comes from recycled scrap, it still spends an average of $300 billion annually on copper imports.

This metal is prized for its many properties, most of which are useful in a wide range of applications across various fields and industries. That’s why it’s extensively utilized. Copper’s most popular alloys are bronze and brass. Each of these alloys has its own unique properties and is manufactured into many useful things from structural elements to everyday ornaments.

Applications of Copper

After mining and refining, copper is made into different types of material, including sheets, plates, tubes, bars, and rods. They all go to metal suppliers and distributors, who then deliver to manufacturers, builders, and artisans who use copper for different specific applications. Nowadays, it’s so much easier for these professionals to find a copper sheet supplier to help you with your project as most of them are accessible online. Here are some of the most common applications of copper:

  • Architecture – Copper is manufactured into a plethora of architectural elements, including roofs, flashings, gutters, downspouts, domes, spires, vaults, wall cladding, and building expansion joints. Builders are confident in using copper materials for exterior features because they know this metal is resistant to the impact of weather due to its non-ferrous characteristics.
  • Automotive – Each vehicle consists of about 40 lbs of electrical and 10 lbs of non-electrical components, particularly comprising the motor and rotor. Copper is becoming even more essential as the demand for electric and hybrid vehicles grows rapidly. Its high electrical conductivity is extremely useful for this application.
  • Electrical – Speaking of electrical conductivity, copper has been used for making wire cores and transformers. Silver was the original choice but it heats up too quickly, which increases the risk of electrical fires. Copper, the next most highly conductive metal, on the other hand, happens to have a high thermal expansion coefficient as well. This means it doesn’t burn up when conveying large voltage of electricity.
  • Plumbing and Decorations – Being non-ferrous gives copper a lot of other useful properties apart from corrosion resistance. For instance, it has an antimicrobial property, which triggers the oligodynamic effect, a phenomenon that occurs when ions of copper attack certain proteins in microorganisms, killing them in the process. This is why copper is the perfect material for tubes and pipes in water systems where purification and filtration are involved.
  • Industrial – One of the reasons why you don’t see a lot of copper around is that most materials made of this metal is used for industrial applications, particularly in manufacturing and power plants. It is found in most heat exchangers and in machines used for copper plate printing and fermentation tank lining. Wineries prefer their distillation pots to be made of copper.
  • Electronic – The electronic devices you use at home and in the workplace possibly have a little bit of copper in them. If you open one up, you will most likely find components such as high frequency and ultra-high frequency tubes, printed circuits, base brazing, all made of copper. This metal has also long replaced aluminum and similar types of metal as the material for silicon chips for interconnection and lead frames in electronic circuitries.
  • Energy and Petrochemical. Many alloys of copper are widely used in the energy and petrochemical industries, too. Good examples are condenser tubes and plates as well as containers for holding corrosive mediums. They are also made into pipes, filters, pumps, valves, and all sorts of evaporators. Because copper has higher resistance to saltwater corrosion than other metals, it is also preferred for desalinators, offshore drilling platforms, and other undersea installations.
  • Transportation. Most modern trains crisscrossing metropolitan areas rely heavily on copper for electricity. They run using the power supplied through copper-based lines that span along the rails. Furthermore, they are also found in the motors, rectifiers and controls, brakes, electrics, and signal systems of these vehicles. Copper alloys have ship-building applications, too. Special types of copper are found to have higher resistance against fouling, which can be a problem as they can increase the weight and reduce the buoyancy of ships.
  • Crafts. Copper is blessed with a beautiful reddish brown color that can match with any interior design. Whether you want a rustic or a modern appeal for your home or office, a streak of copper along trips or even standalone copper furniture makes a great addition. Want to know where to buy copper sheets for crafts? You might want to avoid typical stores that only offer industry-specific products.

Are you looking for a metal with great properties to use in your own project? Whether it’s for manufacturing, construction, or even decoration, consider using copper. With its amazing properties that are well-suited for virtually all kinds of applications, you can never go wrong with this metal. Additionally, you have a huge array of choices because copper has over a hundred different variations.

Before heading out to make a purchase, however, see to it that you will find the best supplier near you. It doesn’t help to source materials from a supplier that isn’t well-versed with metals, particularly copper alloys. The best place to go to is an established supplier like Rotax Metals. Not only do they specialize in copper alloys but they are also an established business, operating since 1947. With their copious knowledge and experience with copper, they surely provide you with the highest quality copper sheet metal for sale as well as unparalleled customer service.

 

Sources:

https://www.statista.com/topics/1409/copper/

https://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/copper/stat/

https://geology.com/usgs/uses-of-copper/

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

Copper and Brass Sales—Understanding the True Value of Copper

value of copper

Among the metals that have great contributions to global development, copper is arguably the most valuable. Apart from being the first metal to have been discovered and utilized by man, it also has spawned a long list of alloys that now aid the advancement of various industries.

 

Why Copper Is a Popular Material

There are a number of reasons why copper is quite a remarkable material. First, it’s fairly malleable, which means it can be hammered, rolled, or pressed into thin sheets without breaking. That property alone allows copper to be utilized for a plethora of applications. It’s no wonder many are looking for a good copper sheet supplier to provide the needs of their projects.

Second, copper is ductile. Quite many metals have a similar property but copper exhibits a degree of ductility that can actually be put to good use. This metal also has high electrical and thermal conductivity, so it’s perfect for applications that involve high temperature and voltage. Since it is also ductile, copper makes a good material for electrical wires. In fact, majority of electrical wires used in any industry are made of copper.

Copper also has antimicrobial properties, which is extremely useful for water filtration and purification applications. With all of these valuable properties, it’s hard to think of life moving forward with copper. Most people may not notice it but this metal can be found almost everywhere from within the walls of their homes to under the hood of their vehicles.

To give you a better idea of how useful copper is, here are the major industries that utilize it.

 

Building and Construction

The construction industry is the biggest consumer of copper supplies in 2017. For the past few decades, it’s the electrical and electronics industry that used the majority of copper products, but it seems modern structural designs that are geared toward longevity and efficiency require better performing metals like copper.

Normally, copper is used for making heat exchanger tubes for condensers in steam power stations and chemical plants, irrigation and agricultural sprinkler systems, and piping at distillation plants. It is also the best material so far to be used for building seawater feed lines, cement pumps for drill water supply, and tubes for distribution of natural and liquefied petroleum.

 

Electrical and Electronics

Copper is still the most ideal metal for making electrical wires and essential parts of electronic devices and machines. If you break into a cellphone or tablet, chances are you’ll find a bunch of small pieces, including connectors, circuitry wiring and contacts, printed circuit boards, micro-chips, and electromagnets. Most, if not all, of these parts are made of copper. While other metal types can be used, copper exhibits high efficiency and conductivity, which are expected from these items.

 

Transportation Equipment

Did you know that there’s roughly 25 kg of copper in your vehicle, and if you remove the parts made of it will render your vehicle completely useless? These parts include the wiring for glass defrost systems, fittings, fasteners, and brass screws, and hydraulic lines. Copper also performs a great deal in the vehicle’s electromagnetic needs.

These are only a few of the applications of copper that you should know about before purchasing copper and brass sales for your project. Understanding how valuable the metal you are using is, you will have greater respect for its use and be extra careful when choosing the correct alloy. To make sure your copper supplies are of the highest quality, turn only to a reputable supplier like Rotax Metals.

 

Sources:

Facts About Copper, geology.com
Learn About the Common Uses of Copper, thebalance.com

1 2

Product categories