Copper strips are long, thin planes of the popular non-ferrous metal known as copper. Also known as trim, strips are used in many industrial, commercial and residential settings to change the aesthetic or functional properties of a structure, piece of equipment or finished product. Sections of copper strip are usually no thicker than 0.2" and the thickness should be uniform throughout the plane.
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Applications of Copper Strips
Though similar in thickness to copper sheet, another stock form commonly produced in copper mills, copper strips are produced with lengths several times greater than their width. In general, thin planes of copper stock that are greater than 24 inches across are sheets with smaller widths being counted as strips. These relatively narrow copper forms are used in many applications. Industries as varied as petrochemical, chemical, automotive, architectural, building, construction, electronics, food processing, marine, aerospace, wiring, power generation, waste treatment, design, lighting and telecommunications commonly employ copper strip. From protective edges to ornate decorative finishes, copper strips are extremely versatile. As flat planes of copper are not conducive to every application, it is not uncommon for copper strips to undergo several secondary processes such as cutting, bending and machining. The malleability of copper makes these strips ideal for post-production processing as it requires minimal expenditure of energy. The electrical and thermal conductivity of copper strips extend its utility to numerous electrical and heating industrial components such as bearings and connectors.
Copper Strip Manufacturing Process
Because use for copper strips covers such a broad range of applications, it is important that manufacturers carefully consider the specifications of a particular strip with regards to its intended use. The initial processing of the copper strip should be considered as it will have a lasting impact on the features of the end product. Though extrusion, casting, cold rolling and drawing may all be used in the formation of metal strips, roll forming is the most common manufacturing method. This process involves heating copper billets, ingots or other raw forms to increase the already high malleability of the material. These shapes are then fed through a pair of industrial rollers set with a specific distance apart from one another. This distance will reflect the thickness of the strip. As the copper rolls between the rollers it is compressed until it becomes thinner, longer and wider. In some cases several rollers or several passes through the same rollers may be needed to reach the desired thickness. Unidirectional rolling is most common, though cross rolling may also be used to alter the hardness and surface properties of the strip. In any event, the finished strip will then be cut to the desired length and width before being sold for use as such or further processing. Regulatory bodies such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the Copper Development Association (CDA) are good sources for information on copper strip and most copper suppliers will also be able to help determine the proper specifications for a given application.