Copper is an element that is supple and ductile. It is one of the most commonly used industrial metals because of its characteristics after iron and aluminum. It has an orange shiny tone and occurs naturally in a useable form. It is highly ductile; however, when gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide, sulfur, and nitrogen get mixed in melted copper, they can have a great impact on the electrical and mechanical properties of copper. It has a very high electrical conductivity that other metals’ electric conductivity is measured against it. Copper has the following characteristics:
- Corrosion Resistant
- Ductility and Suppleness
- Electric Conductivity
- Thermal Conductivity
- Easily Alloyed
- Cold worked
- High-Temperature Resistance
- Good Strength
- Wear Resistance
- Ease of fabrication
Copper is used for several applications because of its resistance to corrosion, ductility, strength, hardness, and electric and thermal conductivity. Copper is a metal that has a historical presence and is being used from old times for several different purposes including condensers, decoration, plumbing, architecture, coinage, musical instruments, electric, locks, ammunition, heat exchangers, pumps, fasteners, hinges, knobs, domestic appliances, radiator cores, transformers, cookware, power stations, utensils, and construction.
The Copper Development Association (CDA) developed a numbering system which is also used by SAE (Society of Automotive Engineering) and ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials). This numbering system is used to identify different copper alloys. In the following passages, different grades of copper are discussed.
- C100 Copper
It is the pure form copper having around 99.3 to 96 percent copper content. It has a high level of electrical conductivity and adding different elements results in enhanced strength.
- C200 Copper or Brass
Brass is an alloy that is primarily made of copper and zinc. It is a bright golden metal that is corrosion resistant and has a low melting point. Brass is a durable metal and is considered a hygienic metal suitable for use in interiors. Brass is a ferromagnetic metal which makes it easier to be separated.
- C300 Copper or Lead Brass
Lead brass is comprised of 1% - 3% lead which improves the machinability, sawing, milling, and shearing properties of the metal.
- C400 Copper or Tin Brass
Tin brass is comprised of 1% - 2% tin along with copper and zinc. This grade is highly corrosion resistant and strong. It is commonly used in electrical applications.
- C500 Copper or Phosphor Bronze
Phosphor bronze is used in heavy-duty applications. It has greater resistance to stress and wears and tear.
- C600 Copper or Bronze
This grade contains 2-3 percent aluminum. It has a great strength level and maintains formability.
- C700 Copper or Nickel Silver
This grade contains copper, nickel, and lead. It is in silver color. It has good strength, corrosion resistance, and formability.
- Copper Beryllium
It contains copper and 0.5 to 3 percent of beryllium. This grade of copper alloy has excellent strength and hardness. It has good corrosion-resistant, non-sparking, and non-magnetic properties.
Gunmetal is comprised of copper, zinc, tin, and lead. It has good strength and corrosion resistance which allows it to endure environmental and seawater bad effects. It is considered suitable for pumps and valves etc.