Category

Copper and Brass

Top 10 Uses of Copper and Others Interesting Facts

copper pot

While gold and silver are irrefutably the most well-known of the 95 metals in the Periodic Table of Elements, to metallurgists and metal connoisseurs, they are nothing out of the ordinary. The real icon in the world of metals is copper, and for a number of good reasons.

  1. Copper is believed to be the first metal humans discovered, dating back to 10,000 years ago. Even before rulers of the first empires wore golden crowns and accessories, copper was already widely utilized for cookware, work tools, and fittings.
  2. It is chockfull of properties that are useful for a vast array of structural and decorative applications.
  3. It’s more abundant than the majority of non-ferrous metals.
  4. It’s easy to combine with other metals to form alloys, thereby allowing the creation of new, expedient materials.
  5. Copper production is so immense an industry that it is often used as a basis for determining the state of global trade.

Properties of Copper

As mentioned, copper is prized for its many useful properties. It’s no wonder copper & brass sales have never seen a significant decline in the last few years. Copper alloys turn out to be extremely useful for the exact same reason. Let’s take a look at some of copper’s more valuable properties.

  • Workability

    – Copper is a malleable and ductile metal. It can be hammered or rolled into thin sheets and drawn into small wires without breaking. In its purest form, copper can be worked cold, but a copper sheet supplier may have to hot work it if it’s combined with another much less pliable metal, such as zinc or lead.

  • Electrical/Heat Conductivity

    – One of the most prominent properties of copper is its high electrical and heat conductivity. It is so conductive that 95 percent of all the transformers, cores of electrical wires, and other conductors are made of copper. Silver is the only metal that is more electrically conductive than copper, but it isn’t good at handling heat, which is why copper is still preferred for electrical applications.

  • Durability

    – Most metals corrode as they oxidize. Iron, for instance, slowly reduces to rust when exposed to oxygen. Copper, on the other hand, oxidizes by developing a protective layer on its surface, called patina. The longer the exposure, the tougher the patina gets. This green layer of protection can preserve the inside of copper for thousands of years.

  • Anti-Bacterial

    – Copper is also one of the few metals that can produce the oligodynamic effect, a phenomenon in which ions of copper break down certain proteins that make up single-celled organisms, killing them eventually.

  • Recyclable

    – Over 80 percent of all the copper ever mined and manufactured are still in use today, and they are all recyclable. Because of this, copper is considered one of the most eco-friendly metals.

10 Uses of Copper

There are more things around you that are made of copper or copper-based alloy than you probably know. Part of the reason is that copper alloys come in different colors and shades depending on their composition. This means they don’t have a single identifying feature. Here’s a list of things copper is used for.

  • Kitchen Sink

    – Copper is a good choice for kitchen sink because it is generally resistant to corrosion and it has anti-microbial properties. For those who are not a fan of patina, however, pure copper is out of the question. They prefer copper alloys that take longer to tarnish, let alone develop patina.

  • Table Tops

    – As mentioned earlier, copper is extremely malleable. You can turn it into thin sheets or plates that make a perfect cover for table and counter tops. Copper’s anti-microbial property makes it suitable for this application as well since these are high-touch surfaces.

  • Jewelry

    – Copper is also a good material for accessories. Even in the ancient times, those who can’t afford gold jewelry wear copper jewelry instead. It offers design flexibility too due to its high ductility.

  • Door Knobs and Pull Handles

    – Maybe you haven’t noticed this but most, if not all, of the door knobs and pull handles you’ve ever held are made partly of copper. They can only be either brass or bronze.

  • Railings

    – When you’re in the train, at a balcony, or on the stairs, odds are you’ll clutch on to the copper-based railing nearest you. Like table tops, railings are also commonly touched surfaces, which is why they are best made of a metal with antimicrobial property. They are conspicuous, too, so they must be made of a naturally elegant-looking material.

  • Tools

    – Ever wondered what metal your wrenches, pliers, screw drivers, and other house tools are made of? Judging by their physical features, you can easily tell that they are copper-based. Specifically, most of them are made of beryllium copper, a non-sparking and non-magnetic alloy that works well in hazardous workspaces.

  • Musical Instruments

    – Copper alloys are also valued for their acoustic quality, especially brass, an alloy of copper and zinc. There are so many brass-based musical instruments that an entire subset of them was named brass.

  • Wire

    – Copper’s high electrical conductivity makes it the safest and most efficient material for wire cores. Unlike silver, it doesn’t burn up when conducting high voltages.

  • Pipes

    – Copper’s antimicrobial property once again proves extremely useful, and this time in filtration applications. Pipes used to convey water or substances requiring zero-level contamination are often made of copper alloys.

  • Gutter

    – It’s probably not the most frugal choice, but a copper gutter is a great addition to your roofing system. It lasts longer, repels mold and mildew, and looks appealing. However, since copper is a little bit more expensive than its galvanized counterpart, you have to be ready to fork out more cash.

There’s just so many uses of copper in everyday life. Over a hundred different copper-based alloys have been discovered since the industrial revolution, and most of them are massed produced and commercially available. Thanks to reputable copper suppliers like Rotax Metals, you have access to superior materials for your projects.

Everything You Need to Know before Making Metal Jewelry

metals and gemstones jewelry
With annual global sales of over $166 billion dollars, jewelry production is undeniably one of the world’s largest and most dynamic industries. Even with the recent financial downturn following the COVID-19 outbreak, this industry is still set for a sparkling future.

It all started with national apparel brands, such as C&A in Germany and Marks & Spencer in the United Kingdom. International brands, such as Zara and H&M, later followed and dominated the market. Smaller brands that produce slightly lower quality products have also taken a sizeable share of the market, but branded jewelry remains the favorite.

History and Development

Humans have known and used jewelry for thousands of years, thanks to our natural desire to accessorize either as part of a tradition or as a means to prettify ourselves. Ancient jewelry items were made of a vast assortment of materials, including seashells and peals connected by strings to make necklaces and beads of gems glued on bones to make hairpins.

Today’s jewelry has come a long way from being unsophisticated handicrafts to intricately designed and machined items. The materials used have immensely improved, too. While jewelry pieces made of gold and gemstones were already popular in the early Bronze Age, it is only during the industrial revolution when more varieties with contrasting values had emerged.

Little has changed in the gemstones used in jewelry, and that’s mainly because their value is measured by their purity. The metal that clasps them, on the other hand, has seen remarkable perfections in terms of quality and value, thanks to advances in metallurgy, which gave way to the discovery of alloys that may not be as valuable as the known precious metals but are equally lasting and dazzling.

Types of Metals Used for Making Jewelry

When you think of jewelry, the first thing you’d most likely imagine, apart from the gemstones, is a golden metal component, or a silver one if you like shiny white color better. That’s only natural since gold and silver are the most popular precious metals around. Some people even think that these are the only metals used for making sterling jewelry pieces. Truth is, there a lot more.

Of course, you can’t expect these metals to be in their pure form. Most, if not all, of them are alloys of different metals and they are only named after their base metal. Alloying helps improve the properties of metals and make them more fitted for jewelries. Here are some of the most common metals jewelry making companies use.

  • Titanium

    – This metal nearly snatched the spotlight from gold in recent years. When it debuted as one of the toughest materials on the planet, everyone wanted a piece of it. True enough, this metal is so strong that even films like The Core used it as a reference to the only metal that could possibly withstand the heat of the Earth’s core. As a jewelry component, it won’t disappoint either. It has a shiny, silvery appeal that makes a great pair to any jewel.

  • Platinum

    – Finer and more appealing than titanium, platinum has a brighter and fairer silvery look, which is ideal for making metal jewelry. When paired with colored gems like sapphire and tourmaline, its elegance further stands out. Platinum is also resistant to tarnish so you can enjoy its hypnotic luster for a long time without the need for constant polishing.

  • Copper

    – We know copper as the metal that makes up the core of electrical wires. It’s expensive as a construction and electronic material, but as jewelry, it’s quite affordable. After all, copper is more common than other metals used for jewelry making. It also tarnishes faster. Its warm, reddish glow is what charms jewelry aficionados from all over the world.

  • Gold

    – Possibly the most precious of all metals used for jewelry, gold is prized for its tarnish-free, warm tone. We’ve known gold for its dazzling yellow color, but truth is gold comes in other colors. You’ve probably heard of white and rose gold. They are nothing short of genuine and sometimes even more elegant-looking than the traditional yellow shade.

  • Brass

    – If you want something that looks like gold but many times cheaper, brass may just be your best bet. The only difference between brass and gold is that the former is not resistant to tarnish, and that’s mainly because brass is a copper-based alloy. It’s less valuable, too, considering that both of its main components—copper and tin—are not considered as precious metals. Thanks to brass suppliers, there’s been a steady supply of brass for jewelry making.

Generally, most metals can be shaped into jewelry pieces. Even aluminum and certain types of steel, which are essentially for industrial and construction use have their fair share of presence in the jewelry market. Because some metals are more valuable than others, however, only those mentioned above are frequently utilized. Their value varies depending on a number factors, include the quality of the metal, where they were quarried, and the company that worked them.

Metals like copper, brass, and bronze are forged in foundries before they can be utilized as raw materials for jewelry making. They can be manufactured into plates, bars, or even strips for easy cutting and machining. Copper and brass suppliers like Rotax Metals are the go-to resource for high-quality copper-based metals for jewelry making.

Properties and Applications of Copper Sheet Metal

Metals are classified into two types. Those that contain iron and are widely utilized for large-scale construction and industrial applications are classified as ferrous metals, while those that don’t contain iron and are often exploited for their electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, and antibacterial properties are classified as non-ferrous.

The latter is regard as high-end for a number of reasons apart from the above-mentioned properties. Most of the metals that belong to that class are quite elusive or hard to come by. Their ores are either entrenched deep into the earth or simply rare. Furthermore, the industries that utilize them also belong to a sophisticated bracket, including electronics, telecommunication, and aerospace.

Of all the non-ferrous metals, copper is arguably the most influential. There’s gold and silver that everyone knows about, but when it comes to usability, they don’t come close to copper. The fact that this metal has been around for longer than all the timelines of all other metals combined is a proof of that. Man has used copper for over ten thousand years and its reign is far from over. It’s not difficult to understand why copper is still extensively used despite the emergence of numerous other non-ferrous metals. It has to do with its amazing properties.

Properties of Copper

Our dependence on copper for many of our daily necessities comes from its many properties, which allow it to be turned into materials that are valuable in manufacturing basic commodities and utilities. There are many other metals that have similar properties but they are either not as stable or far less abundant. Let’s take a look at some of the properties that make copper a great metal.

  • Malleability

    – Copper can be hammered or rolled into thin sheets or plates without breaking. In fact, there’s a vast range of thicknesses copper can be manufactured into that distributors have made an entire copper sheet thickness chart. Each option can be used for highly specific functions from machine plating to surface embellishment.

  • Ductility

    – Copper can be drawn into small wires as well. Most of the electrical cables used in buildings have a copper core. Unlike other metals that become breakable in strips, copper remains hard even when it’s drawn into strands of very small diameters.

  • Corrosion Resistance

    – Many artifacts that date back several thousands of years are made of copper, which gives us a clue how long this metal can last. Copper, surely, corrodes just like any other metal. It’s just that the substances that can corrode it aren’t as common as those that corrode other metals.

  • Electrical Conductivity

    – It’s not just copper’s ductility that makes it a favorite material for making wire cores. Copper is also known to have superior electrical conductivity. It’s the second most highly conductive metal on the planet, next to silver.

  • High Heat Capacity

    – Copper can withstand very high temperatures, including heat produced by high voltages, which is also a reason why it’s the ideal material for making electrical wires. While silver has a higher electrical conductivity, it heats up very fast, causing fire hazards.

  • Antimicrobial Property

    – Most non-ferrous metals have the ability to release ions that damage certain proteins in microbes, killing them in the process. Copper, being the king of the non-ferrous, can decimate a great deal of bacteria in a short span of time, which is why it is ideal for making tubes and containers for water distribution and food processing.

Copper Sheet Metal Applications

Copper can be manufactured into different forms but it’s most popular in sheet form. After all, there are tons of applications that require copper sheets. Regardless of the copper sheet thickness, there will always be a use for it. This metal product is so popular you have trouble identifying where to buy copper sheets whenever you find the need. Here are some of applications of copper sheet metal.

  • Welding Fixtures

    – Before welding product parts, their geometry must be secured using welding fixtures to ensure the quality of the final product. Copper alloys are ideal for such application. In case you are building your own welding setup and asking “how thick should my copper sheet be?” there are guides online that you can follow.

  • Ground Straps

    – Any system or machine that runs on electricity must have a ground strap to protect essential components and people from electrostatic discharge (ESD).

  • Plumbing Fitting

    – Copper, being resistant to corrosion, is an ideal material for flashing. It’s even perfect for roofing but, since copper is expensive, many people don’t find it practical.

  • Power Transmission

    – Most sprockets, sheaves, belt pulleys, and bushings used in power transmission systems are made of durable and wear-resistant metals. Many alloys of copper fit the criteria.

  • Heat Exchanger

    – The majority of components of heat exchangers are made of copper or its alloys, thanks to copper’s high heat capacity.

If you are planning to use metal sheet or plate in your project, copper sheet metal must be first on your list of options. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt if you get expert advice from a world-class copper sheet supplier like Rotax Metals to know which metal is most suitable for your project or whether or not the standard copper sheet thickness would suffice. Moreover, you can easily get lost in the plethora of choices available so it pays to have a detailed discussion with the supplier.

Sources:

https://www.sseb.eu/en/products/clamping-fixtures/complex-welding-fixture/

1 2 3 8

Product categories