Copper is one of the most useful metals known to man, and it was one of the
first to be utilized. Copper is a reddish-yellow material and is extremely ductile.
Copper has a face-centered-cubic (fcc) crystal structure and has the second
best electrical conductivity of the metals, second only to silver compared to which it has a
conductivity of 97%. The thermal conductivity of copper is very high falling in between silver and gold. There are almost 400 different copper alloys depending on
the commercial product made; rods, plates, sheets, strips, tubes, pipes,
extrusions, foils, forgings, wires, and castings from foundries.
|Cast Copper Alloys|
Cast copper alloys generally have a great range of alloying elements than
wrought alloys because of the nature of the casting process. The cast brasses
consist of of copper-zinc-tin alloys (red, semi-red, and yellow). The cast bronzes
consist of manganese bronzes (high-strength yellow brasses), leaded
manganese bronze alloys (leaded high-strength yellow brasses), and
copper-zinc-silicon alloys (silicon brasses and bronzes). There are four main
families in the cast bronze alloys; copper-tin-lead, copper-tin-nickel, copper-tin,
and copper-aluminum alloys.
|Wrought Copper Alloys|
Wrought alloys produced in a variety of different methods, including annealed,
cold worked, hardened by heat treatments, or stress relieved. There are four
main families of wrought copper (see table above); copper and high-copper
alloys, brasses, bronzes, and copper nickel & nickel-silver alloys.