Copper belongs to the group of heavy non-ferrous metals. It is obtained by processing ores, as well as by recycling copper scrap. It is very malleable and forged. It ranks second after silver in electrical conductivity. Because of this, it is used in pure form to make wire, coils, electrical terminals. However pure copper mechanically inferior to its alloys. To increase strength properties two copper alloys were made: brass (Cu+Zn) and bronze (Cu+Sn).
|Physical qualities of Cu|
|Atomic (molar) mass g/mol||63,548|
|Melting point t°С||1085°С|
|Oxidation degree||3, 2, 1, 0|
|Thermal conductivity K [W/(m-K)||401|
|Molar volume cm3/mol||7,1|
Copper prices are determined by a number of factors: global economic trends, countries' domestic economies, and proximity to processing centers. In fact, prices are indirect indicators of economic sector stability in areas such as electronics, engineering and energy, where copper is used as a raw material, as well as reflecting the dynamics of the manufacturing industry. The price of copper is determined by the stock exchange. But considering this issue on a private basis, one should take into account the level of industrial consumption of non-ferrous metals, availability of natural resources in regions, development of mining industries.
Copper is equally successful in electrical engineering, as a roofing material, in the production of heating equipment, in plumbing and instrumentation. This metal with its unique combination of useful properties finds wide application in all spheres of human activity. About seventy percent of the total metal consumed is consumed in the manufacture of electrical equipment. Fifteen percent is used for structural elements, and 5% is used for parts for automobiles. Four percent each goes to structural components in the transportation sector and the rest of the industry, including firearms.
Owing to the fact that almost any metal property can be manipulated by means of the necessary additives, electrical products are manufactured in various grades. If high conductivity of electric current is to be achieved, oxygen-free copper additives are used. In some cases oxygen-containing grades (in the range of 0.02 to 0.04 percent), although this option worsens the welding processes. If a small amount of arsenic is added, the strength characteristic can be improved. Grades with lower oxygen content are more suitable for casting and are used in the manufacture of pipes, wire, tubing, roofing, and condensers.
As for the range of products that copper alloys represent, it is very diverse: circle, wire, strip; sheet; tube; strip; plate and more.
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