Copper-bearing alloys, as in aluminum alloys, beryllium copper and steels, only contain small amounts of copper. Other copper alloys include copper-silver and copper-nickel. Copper suppliers specialize in manufacturing preforms, which are billets and blanks, to be further fabricated into other products and parts. Copper strip and copper sheet are flat, flexible and come in rolls, as do copper coil. Copper tubes are often fabricated into copper pipe systems. Brass rod, brass plate and brass bar are all thicker, solid uniform pieces of brass that are often drawn or extruded into different shapes. Copper and its alloys are supplied to many different industries, including the automotive, architectural, building construction, electronics, food processing, marine, aerospace, wiring, power generation, lighting and telecommunications industries. The preforms are fabricated into piping systems, propellers, hardware, kitchen products, small springs, wires, adapters, electrical connectors, lighting, valves, coins, offshore drilling equipment, microchips and roofing. It is also a non-sparking metal, which is a highly valuable property in applications inside hazardous areas that have exposure to combustible or explosive vapors and gases, like oil rigs.
Fabricating copper preforms is the first step in the copper manufacturing process. First, powder plants create copper powder and flake, which can be used for such products as powdered metal parts. Copper mills manufacture cold drawn wire and rod, which improves the strength and electrical conductivity, for use in electrical applications. Casting procedures are performed at foundries to create numerous products, using ingots and scrap copper as raw materials. The copper ingots are heated to their melting point, which is 1981º F, and injected or poured into a 3 dimensional mold, where it is left to cure. Brass mills also use numerous processes, including hot and cold rolling, drawing, forging and extrusion, to create copper and copper alloy products. Because copper is soft in its pure state and not recommended for building applications, much of the manufacturing in brass mills is done with copper alloys. After a brass or copper shape has been fabricated, they may also undergo a multitude of secondary operations, such as annealing, which alters the copper's temper, bending, stamping, welding, etching, engraving, polishing or applying clear protective coatings.
A variety of uses are associated with copper and its alloys. Copper wire is an excellent, ductile and cost-effective conductor of electricity, and is used in many electrical applications. Copper is also a good conductor of heat in such products as heat exchangers and pressure vessels. Air conditioning and refrigeration systems often have copper tubing because of its extreme temperature resistance and ability to withstand abrasive chemicals. These copper pipe systems are not only able to transfer water but oil and chemicals as well. Because of its versatile properties, one of the most common materials used by copper suppliers for bearings is bronze. With the addition of lead, bronze bearings provide a lubricated, low friction surface. Copper, as a nonsparking metal, performs well as small springs and tools like wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, spanners, chisels and hammers. These tools are mostly made out of beryllium copper, which is the strongest alloy. Because this alloy does not spark, it is safe to use in hazardous environments like oil rigs where explosive and flammable dust, vapor and gases exist. High-strength copper alloys make up components in the construction of airplanes, automobiles, subway cars, trains and space shuttles. Other diverse uses for copper alloys include valves, pumps, architectural fixings, coins, cooking ware, blades, offshore drilling equipment and microchips. Its attractive color and finish make it popular in many different architectural and building architecture applications, both indoor and out. Copper, brass and bronze are also used for lighting, fixtures and roofing.
The uses for copper are ever expanding, especially recently within the computer manufacturing, electronics and telecommunications industries. Existing telephone lines are composed of twisted pairs of copper wires, and they are now being used to connect computers as a less expensive high-speed alternative to fiber optics for communications and networking. Copper wires conduct electricity better than any other metal, next to silver, and must be 99.98% pure in order to be used for electrical applications. Aluminum computer chips are being replaced by copper chips because of its superior conductivity. This enables the conductor channel lengths and widths to be greatly reduced, which means faster operating speeds.
Copper is a sustainable metal for the future because of its abundance. Very little of the world's supply of copper has been mined, and it is also one of the most commonly recycled metals, making copper scrap valuable. In fact, almost as much copper is recycled as is mined every year. Copper is an economic choice for copper suppliers and many applications because it is typically long lasting and needs little maintenance. To help copper suppliers products achieve an even longer life, certain coating processes can protect the metal surface from weathering and prolong the natural reddish-gold color. Copper is highly reactive with oxygen and will develop a green patina over time, especially in areas with extreme environments or pollution. Besides this, copper will not corrode from contact with any other metal, although it will cause corrosion in others, especially aluminum and zinc.
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- Beryllium copper is the strongest, most durable copper alloy that contains anywhere from 0.5 to 3% beryllium, an alkaline earth metal that is mainly used as a hardening agent in alloys.
- Brass bars are solid, straight uniform preforms, billets and blanks that
are supplies in metalworking facilities.
- Brass plates are solid, thin pieces of square or rectangular copper and
- Brass rods are solid, straight preforms that are used as billets and
- is a metal alloy containing copper and zinc.
- is a metal alloy containing copper and tin.
- are solid, straight uniform products
of copper that can be extruded. These products have cross-sections
in a variety of shapes, from circular to triangular, square and more.
are large pieces of pure copper that can be cut into
smaller lengths in order to be extruded or forged as copper
rod or bar.
- Copper coil is a thermally and electrically conductive component in many
different systems and machinery. It is made of copper wire or tube that
is bent and wound into a rounded spiral shape.
- Copper pipe is made
of a copper and has excellent electrical conductivity.
- is formed from the rolling process and can be used as
- is a long sheet of metal with a length many times its
- Copper suppliers manufacture and distribute preformed copper and copper
alloy billets, blanks and parts.
- Copper tubes are hollow aluminum products, useful in HVAC, plumbing
and similar applications where corrosion-resistant tubing and a high
level of heat transfer are required.
- Various surface treatments that can be
done to copper to produce an "aged" or "antique" look.
- A mechanical process, by which rollers, bending shoes
or mandrels are used to bend a curved section on metal tubes, rods or
- A type of bending that can be used on sheet, strip
- A copper alloy, primarily containing zinc.
- A method of joining metal pipe or tube by using a nonferrous
- A copper alloy, primarily containing tin.
Metal shapes produced from pouring molten metal into a mold and waiting
for it to cool and solidify into the desired shape.
- A small copper strip that is used as a fastener for sheet
The process of hammering a metal into shape at room temperature.
- Copper that has had a deoxidizer, such as phosphorus,
added to it in order to reduce oxygen.
- A method of creating a metal shape with a uniform cross-section,
by forcing heated metal through a die.
- Copper sheet that is used in construction in order to
prevent or divert water penetration.
- Standard copper that is used in electrical
applications, capable of 100% electrical conductivity.
- A method of forming that involves using hydraulic
pressure on sheet metal placed between a male die and a rubber piece.
- Bonding, usually with adhesives, of metal sheet or
strip alloys to various substrates, including aluminum, plywood and steel.
The resulting product is often very strong.
- Treatments done to finish metal surfaces,
including grinding, polishing and buffing.
- The natural copper coating that results from atmospheric
- The process of pressing metal sheet or strip between rollers.
- Metal that is leftover after cutting. Generally, this can
- A method of joining that is used for watertight applications,
such as for roofing and gutters.
- A method of forming a product by using a hand tool to shape a
revolving metal piece.
- Using a die in a press or a hammer to shape metal sheet or strip.