Copper and Brass
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Everything You Need To Know About: Copper

Copper is a remarkable material that plays an important role in our everyday lives. It is a naturally occurring element found in the Earth’s crust and is easily recognizable in its native copper form, appearing as a reddish-orange metal. It has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes, from creating coins and jewelry to wiring and plumbing. 


Due to its excellent conductivity and resistance to corrosion, it has become a staple in the electrical industry. Additionally, copper is a crucial component in the production of renewable energy technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines. Understanding the properties and applications of copper is essential to appreciating its value and importance in modern society.

What Is Copper?

Copper is a metallic element found in pure metal form or a variety of copper compounds. It is abundant in the earth’s crust and is a key component in many industries, including construction, electronics, and transportation. One common copper compound is cuprous oxide, which is used in the production of semiconductors and as a pigment in ceramics. Overall, copper’s versatility and usefulness make it an essential element in our modern world.

History of Copper

Copper holds a significant place in human history, with the majority of the world’s copper deposits being found in Chile, followed by Peru and China. It was the first metal ever used by humans, with evidence of its use dating back to the Bronze Age over 5,000 years ago. 


Copper was highly prized due to its versatility, durability, and ability to conduct heat and electricity. It was also used in the production of other metals, such as bronze, brass, and sterling silver. Copper is one of the few elements in its natural state, and its importance in human history cannot be overstated.

Application Of Copper

A whole bunch of copper wire


Copper is a versatile metal used for various purposes since ancient times. Its production has evolved over the years, and today, it ranks third in global metal consumption, behind only iron and aluminum. Copper items are ubiquitous in our lives, from electrical wiring to piping and roofing. Its properties, such as excellent corrosion resistance and thermal conductivity, make it an ideal material for a range of applications. This informative introduction provides a glimpse into the fascinating world of copper and its many uses.


Copper plays an integral role in the rapidly advancing world of electronics. New technology and energy use are constantly being crafted, and copper wiring is often key to its functioning. Whether used to make batteries last longer or transfer electric current with precision, copper becomes vital to these technologies working correctly and efficiently. In fact, without it, further advancements may not be feasible, demonstrating how important copper remains in the successful execution of modern electronic appliances.


Copper has been used in architecture for thousands of years due to its durability and aesthetic qualities. Copper produced from industrial machinery is often alloyed with other metals to create copper alloys with increased strength and corrosion resistance suitable for construction.


Copper’s ruddy color and malleability shape it into roofing, facades, and decorative elements. The copper patina, or verdigris, that forms over time on copper surfaces is prized for its vivid blue-green hues. Many iconic buildings feature copper in their design, demonstrating its timeless appeal and functionality in architecture.


Copper has long been valued for its antimicrobial properties. Copper occurs naturally with a relatively high melting point, allowing it to maintain its structure even after frequent touching and contact. When exposed to moisture, copper produces cuprous sulfide, a substance toxic to bacteria and other microbes. Due to this, copper alloys are often used in frequently-touched surfaces in hospitals and other healthcare facilities where reducing microbial growth is critical. 


Studies have shown that copper surfaces can reduce the transfer of infection-causing germs by over 90% compared to other materials. While the antimicrobial effects of copper have been known for centuries, ongoing research continues to reveal the extent and potential of this naturally-occurring metal’s microbial-fighting power.

Why Use Copper Products For Your Project?

Copper and its alloys are essential materials for many building and manufacturing projects. Copper is highly conductive, corrosion-resistant, and durable, ideal for electrical applications, plumbing, and heat exchange systems. Copper tools and materials are also relatively inexpensive and have a steady supply, as copper is one of the most abundant minerals in the Earth’s crust. Whether you need copper wire, pipes, or sheets for your project, copper and its alloys are versatile, reliable, and practical choices for a wide range of tools, materials, and applications.

Get The Best Copper In Town At Rotax Metals!

Rotax Metals is your go-to supplier for high-quality copper and other metals in the area. We source the purest copper available and sell it to you in presentable small amounts or however much your project requires. Whether you need copper for electrical work, plumbing, or a craft project, we have you covered. 


Our copper is 99.9% pure and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. We also supply other popular metals like aluminum, steel, and brass. Stop by our warehouse for the best copper and metals in town. Contact us now and get your hands on the best metal products in town!

Why Is Copper Used for Earthing and Other Applications?

When it comes to durability and utility, only a handful of metals meet most criteria. Iron and aluminum top the list of the most widely used metals, but there are others like copper and zinc that are worth mentioning.

Copper is arguably the most useful of them. While it’s not as extensively produced and utilized as other metals—mainly due to its scarceness—it is packed with many properties that make it useful for a wide range of applications. Copper is well-known in various industries for having these qualities:


– It’s the second most electrically conductive metal yet, only next to silver. Because it’s cheaper and has a higher heat tolerance than silver, most manufacturers prefer it to the latter for practical applications.

Low Thermal Expansion

– Metals tend to expand when heated. Although extremely malleable, copper works well with heat. It has a thermal expansion coefficient of 16.8, which is relatively lower than that of aluminum. This property is also one of the reasons why electrical wires are made of copper and not silver—because copper can withstand the heat produced by high voltages of electricity.

Corrosion Resistance

– Copper does not corrode like iron. It develops tarnish and patina, but its inner material can stay intact for millennia. It’s one of the most durable materials around. Some of the most well-preserved metallic artifacts are copper. They are easily recognizable by their greenish color.


– Copper is one of the easiest metals to work. You can roll, shear, or extrude it without applying heat. You can turn it into sheets and plates of different thicknesses or wires and rods of different cross-sectional areas.

Copper Rods and Their Uses

While many of the copper-based objects you know are either in a plate or sheet form, most copper-based products are actually in rod or wire form. But what exactly are copper rods used for? Where do all those copper rods and wires from top copper suppliers like Rotax Metals go?


– Electrical earthing is done by connecting a part of an equipment or structure that uses electricity to the ground to transfer discharge safely. Why is copper used for earthing? Well, because of copper’s high conductivity, it can move electrical discharge to the ground more efficiently than any other metal. Furthermore, it won’t rust even when buried into the ground for a long time. It is the reason why the earthing system is often also called the copper rod earthing system.

Power transmission

– Large electrical cables require large copper cores. These copper cores are too big they already fit under the rod category. You might even have trouble bending or curling them because of their size and density.


– A standard automobile contains about 23 kilograms of copper. Around 75 percent of this is electrical, and the rest are not. Among those components are tubes, rods, and wires of various sizes, each with a specific function that contributes to the car’s performance. The larger the vehicle, the more copper components it contains. For instance, a construction vehicle typically has about 30 kilograms of copper component in it, while a forklift truck has more or less 62 kilograms.


– You probably haven’t noticed but a lot of construction materials are copper-based. Bolts, rivets, nails, and switches are the best examples. You won’t see a lot of large copper components in a building because they have limited structural functions.

When to Get Brass Rods for Your Projects

When you are planning to build a metal structure or machine, odds are you will have to include copper or its alloys in your list of materials to buy. If what you will be building is a prototype, you can’t expect to obtain ready-made materials from a supply store. Instead, you have to purchase raw copper rods, tubes, and plates, then work them to create pieces that fit your prototype’s specifications.

Copper supplies are available in different dimensions and grades. Before buying the raw metals, make sure you know the specific types you need for your project. The last thing you want is to purchase a metal rod that’s too small for its intended use. Have a professional metalworker work your raw copper rods to achieve precise cuts.

Before even thinking of finding a metalworking shop, think of where to buy your raw copper supplies first. You’d like your materials to be of the highest quality to ensure that your inventions works, performs well, and endure constant operation since you’ll be showing them to a lot of people.

The best place to buy copper supplies is at a store that has been around for many decades, such as Rotax Metals. Their establishment tells a lot about their expertise and the quality of their products. You can tell how vast and comprehensive their catalog is by the volume of their copper sales because it means they provide for different customers with different needs.

coper sink

Does Copper Rust? Here’s What You Should Know

Over 80 percent of all known elements are metals. Experts classify them according to their physical and chemical properties, such as density, conductivity, melting point, and reaction to certain chemicals. Arguably, one of the simplest ways to classify metals is through their decomposition.

Like any other material, metals decompose when exposed to another element or compound. We call this process corrosion. While all metals corrode, some have higher corrosion resistance than others. In most cases, different metals corrode differently when exposed to the same chemical. For instance, iron turns into rust and zinc turns into a white powder when they come into contact with air or moisture.

In terms of corrosion, there are two broad classifications of metals – ferrous and non-ferrous. Ferrous metals contain iron, while non-ferrous metals do not. Iron is particularly notorious for being susceptible to corrosion. Oxygen is its main catalyst. When exposed to any oxygen-containing substance, such as air or water, oxygen atoms from that substance combine with iron atoms and form iron oxide or rust.

Does copper rust?

Copper is a non-ferrous metal. It doesn’t contain iron, so it won’t turn into rust when exposed to oxygen. Instead, when oxygen molecules land on copper’s surface, they combine with copper atoms and form copper oxide.

Unlike iron oxide, copper oxide does not disintegrate over time. It stays on copper’s surface and gradually thickens until it becomes copper carbonate. This new layer of material, commonly known in the metal world as patina, serves as a shield against the elements, preserving the unspoiled copper inside for a very long time.

The Pros and Cons of Copper Corrosion

Generally, corrosion is considered detrimental to metals because it takes away their useful properties. For instance, rust causes iron to lose its tensile strength, rendering it useless for construction applications as a result.

Corrosion of copper metal, on the other hand, is different. Instead of destroying the metal, it gives it an elegant and unique appearance. Furthermore, it doesn’t diminish copper’s key properties, such as workability and conductivity. If anything, the outer covering produced from corrosion gives copper added protection, allowing it to last for millennia.

Copper Alloys and the Effects of Corrosion

Copper is among the most flexible metals around. It can easily bend and stretch due to its high malleability and ductility. Unlike other metals, copper is an excellent base material for alloys to boot. Of the many different copper alloys available today, the most popular are brass (copper and zinc) and bronze (copper and tin).

To produce different versions of these alloys, metallurgists alter their content proportion. They add a miniscule amount of other metals (sometimes non-metals) into the mixture to create more variations.

Because copper alloys contain other metals, they corrode differently from how pure copper corrodes. For example, most types of brass turn golden brown during the final stage of corrosion, while copper turns green. In fact, one can tell how long copper or its alloys have been corroding by their color. This gives artisans a wealth of choices when decorating with copper-based sculptures and fixtures.

Then again, some applications require copper or its alloys to be in their pristine state. Copper-based machine components such as copper rods and plates, as an example, work optimally when their surfaces are free of patina. The same goes for copper wires; they are most electrically conductive in their purest form.

Copper corrosion is a slow process, so it’s easy to preserve the sheen of a copper, brass, or bronze item. In fact, it takes decades for copper to develop a greenish top layer. In addition, all it takes to polish these metals is an over-the-counter metal polish or homemade mix and a clean cloth. Some copper alloys, however, tarnish fast, so you have to polish them more often.

Forcing Copper Corrosion

As previously mentioned, copper corrodes very slowly. It only begins to change color after months or years of exposure to air and moisture. You may wonder how architects and interior designers are able to find copper fixtures and furniture pieces with the exact shade and color they need for their projects in a short span of time.

There’s no way they’ve been waiting for those items to patinate prior to their project’s commencement. What they actually do is force copper to corrode by applying certain chemicals on its surface. Oxygen is not the only element that can cause patina to form on copper’s surface. A lot of other harsher compounds are actually more effective, turning copper from red to brown in a matter of minutes.

Here are some of the popular methods for creating patina on copper items:

  1. Incubate the item with hot crushed boiled eggs.

    After boiling a few pieces of eggs, place and crush them in a sealable plastic bag. Bury the metal piece into the crushed egg and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. To achieve a dark shade of patina, incubate the metal piece for several hours.

  2. Spray or apply a vinegar-salt solution on your copper item.

    Both vinegar and salt are potent enough to accelerate the formation of patina on copper. With the right mixture, it can even give your copper item a bluish patina. To get a more specific shade or hue, you can add sawdust and chips into the mixture.

  3. Suspend the copper piece in saltwater and non-detergent ammonia vapor.

    Put the mixture in a container with a cap. Find a way to put the copper item in the container without touching the solution. You only need to expose it to the vapor. This means you have to close the container as well.

There are other chemicals that you can use to force corrode copper or its alloys. Ferric nitrate, sodium thiosulfate, and sulfureted potash are the most common. Each of these solutions produce a different patina color on copper. However, other factors such as temperature and humidity may also be at play.

Probably the least noticed but one of the most influential factors is the quality of the metal piece. Even the tiniest impurities within the metal could have a serious effect on patina formation. This is the reason why it’s crucial to only obtain your materials from the right copper sheet supplier. Here in North America, your best option is Rotax Metals. They have nearly a century of experience with copper and its alloys, so you can be sure that they provide the highest quality copper plates, sheets, rods, and anything in between.

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