Copper is known for its superb electrical and thermal conductivity. Compared with other metals, copper is quite versatile in forming alloys. There are over 400 types of copper alloys. Due to the unique alloy properties, each is suitable for specific applications. How the composition of an alloy is determined depends on design loads and the required corrosion resistance. The following table lists copper alloys widely applied in industries.
|Copper||It is a non-ferrous transition metal and can be used on its own or combined with other metals to form alloys.|
|Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. The amount of zinc influences types and grades of brass. There are over 60 types of brass. Depending on the composition, they have different properties such as ductility, strength, hardness, color, and corrosion resistance. Machinability and conductivity also vary among different brass types. Nonetheless, brass is more malleable than bronze and easy to cast. The workability of brass makes it an ideal material for boiler parts, heat exchangers, electronics, gears, music instruments, and plumbings. Brass is also antimicrobial and anti-bactericidal. It kills microorganisms within a few hours of contact, and this antimicrobial effect is long-lasting.|
|Gunmetals are copper alloys with tin, zinc, and lead. They are easy to cast and have good strength and corrosion resistance. Initially used for gun making, this type of brass is also used for hydraulic and steam castings, gears, and pipes.|
Aluminum bronze Leaded-tin-bronze/high lead-tin-bronze Phosphor bronze
|Bronze is alloy of copper and tin. Some currently available bronzes contain no tin but other metals such as aluminum, lead, phosphor, and zinc. Bronze is more rigid than pure copper and iron and, therefore, far more corrosion resistant.
Aluminum bronze can contain up to 16% of aluminum and is quite strong and corrosion-resistant. Therefore, it is often used in marine applications such as gears, ship propellers, turbine blades, pipe fittings, and pumps.
Leaded-tin-bronze and high lead-tin-bronze contain lead. Lead content compromises the strength of these two types of bronze but provides good machinability. These two types of bronze are often used in bearings, home appliances, machinery, pumps, and thrust washers.
Phosphor is another feasible addition to bronze and helps enhance the strength of the alloy. Phosphorus bronze is often seen in applications such as bushings, pump plungers, and valves.
|Copper-Nickels||Copper-Nickel alloys, Copper nickel-iron alloy||These are copper alloys with nickel. They show good ductility, strength, and corrosion resistance, especially in marine applications. They are popular in marine applications because they are easily workable and have excellent resistance to aqueous corrosion and macrofouling.
Copper-nickel-iron alloy is a copper alloy containing nickel, manganese, iron, and lead. This alloy with a silver appearance is tarnish-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and easily workable. Copper-nickel-iron alloy can be used for boilers, connection wires, tubes, heat exchanger components, pumps, valves. In addition, they are ideal for marine applications, such as seawater flanges, seawater condensers, pipes, pipe fittings, pumps, valves.
|Copper Beryllium Alloys||This alloy goes through complete heat treatment and cold-working. The mechanical properties of copper-beryllium alloy are similar to those of alloy steel. This alloy has the highest strength and hardness among all copper-based alloys. Therefore, it is suitable for metalworking, forming, and machining. Copper beryllium alloy has excellent corrosion- and biofouling- resistance. As a result, it is widely used in marine applications and ideal material for hazardous environments, precision measurement devices, and aerospace applications.|
|Silicon Bronze and Silicon Brass||Copper alloys containing silicon have moderately high strength, good wear resistance, and good aqueous corrosion resistance.
Silicon bronze is easy to cast due to its fluidity during casting. It is corrosion-resistant and less brittle. It contracts less during cooling and therefore is suitable for casting objects with complex shapes and geometries. It also has a pleasing surface finish and load properties. This copper alloy is often used in aerospace applications, marine hardware, electrical components, and chemical processing equipment.
Silicon brass is a soft alloy but has good strength. It has lower conductivity and high corrosion resistance. It is often used in environments exposed to chemicals, hydraulic fluids, lubricants, salty water, and marine atmospheres. Silicon brass also has good fluidity during casting and is suitable for casting marine components such as gears, propellers, and valve parts.
|Wrought copper||Wrought copper alloy is processed copper alloy used in different fields and areas to make various parts and components. The processing could include rolling, extruding, and forging.
Wrought copper has different chemical properties from those of cast copper. Therefore, the choice between wrought and cast copper alloys depends on the required design and quality of finished parts. Some applications of wrought copper alloys include energy and gas transportation, food processing, electronic equipment, telecommunications facility, thermal processing equipment, and welding equipment.