Copper is one of the most important non-ferrous metal that is used in industrial and engineering applications. Generally copper is used with alloying elements. In this article, we will explain the properties of copper, production of copper and designation of copper alloys.
In old times, copper can be found in nature as free element. But today, copper must be extracted from its ores, that the copper element is generally chemically bonded with other elements. One of the most know copper ore is chalcopyrite(CuFeS2). Ore is crushed and concentrated with flotation, then with the smelting propcess, copper is separated from its ore. The obtained copper named as ‘blister copper’ in which copper composition is between 97-99%. To obtian commercial pure copper, electrolysis processes are used.
The physical appereance of copper is red-pink color. Copper is very good electrical and thermal conductor. Actually the best electrical conductor in all elements. Because of this property of copper, pure copper is used in electric conduction. With the addition of alloyşng elements into the copper, this electrical conductivity decreases. The strength and hardness of copper is very low. Of we consider about the weigth in terms of strength and hardness, copper is very bad element for it. But with correct alloying elements, copper can be very good engineering material. For example, Bronze which is very used and known elements in engineering is the alloy of copper and tin(90% of copper and 105 of tin nearly). Another example of copper alloys is Brass which is copper and zinc alloy system. Nearly 65% of copper and 35% of Zinc is used at Brass.
The designation of copper alloy systems includes five digit number that starting with ‘C’ letter, which indicates the ‘Copper’. Like in aluminum designation, copper alloys also separated as cast and wrought.
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