Advantages of Copper & Copper Alloys

The Advantages of Copper

In their pure form many metals have vulnerabilities such as low melting points, low ductility or over-malleability. When two metals or elements are combined though they form an alloy. This step in metallurgy paved the way for an infinite number of possibilities.

The use of alloys provided humanity with a limitless amount of applications, shaping the evolution of industry and art alike. In considering the wide range of alloys available, there are perhaps none so effective, efficient and beneficent as copper alloys.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of copper and copper alloys:

 


Quick Overview of Copper (Cu)

Copper Ore
While it usually contains imperfections, copper ore is red and shinny in its natural state.

Copper is arguably one of the most important metals on the planet. Expediting the metallurgy and smelting processes all throughout the Bronze Age, it has been a highly influential metal.

Copper is a noble metal, meaning it’s resistant to corrosion. It’s extremely malleable, ductile, and soft. It’s also one of the few metallic elements that exists as a solid in nature.

It’s because of its naturally metallic state and striking reddish appearance that copper was first discovered by humans nearly 10,000 years ago. It was the first metal found workable by man and used for both practicality as well as adornment.

It wasn’t until around 5,000 B.C. with the advent of smelting that new uses of copper began to be discovered through the use of alloys. This brought humanity brass and bronze – equally influential metals.

 


Bronze

The Addition of Tin to Copper Results in Bronze - Ushering in a New Era
The addition of tin to copper results in bronze – ushering in a new era

Bronze is an alloy of 90% copper and 10% tin. Harder and stronger than copper alone, bronze quickly became a prominent material used for a variety of purposes. Among these purposes were tools, armor and weapons.

The advent of smelting brought upon an age of experimentation with metals. While the initial creation of bronze may have been accidental, it seems that at around 3,200 B.C. tin began to be mined deliberately for use in the creation of bronze. Despite it’s popularity in the eastern hemisphere, tin was actually relatively rare in the areas it was being used most.

Consequently, it was the demand for tin in the creation of copper alloys that lead to the establishment of the first international trade routes.

As mentioned earlier, bronze had a number of applications; most notably weapons. Gunmetal Bronze – an alloy of copper, tin and zinc – was used throughout the 18th and 19th centuries to make firearms (hence its name) in addition to cannons.

The use of bronze in firearms was eventually replaced by steel as smithing techniques became more advanced. However, gunmetal bronze was a prominent alloy for many years and retains characteristics still sought out by collectors to this day.

An 18th Century Bronze Revolutionary War Pistol

 


Antimicrobial

Coppers antimicrobial nature makes it perfect for plumbing and marine applications.
Coppers antimicrobial nature makes it perfect for plumbing and marine applications.

One of the most intriguing aspects of copper – and one of its lesser-known properties – is the inability for microbes and microorganisms to adhere to its surface.

This property has contributed to the metal’s popularity and widespread use, especially in applications related to water. For instance, since its initiation, copper piping has become the unanimous favorite of materials used in plumbing purposes.

Due to the fact that microbes can’t live on its surface, copper is a perfect metal to use in any damp or wet areas. It’s also unaffected by humidity and temperature change. Found in desalination systems, embedded into the paint used on ship hull’s and comprising boat propeller, it has proven time and again its versatility.

 


Intercept™ Technology

Intercept™ Technology is a patented copper polymer that stops corrosion and it’s used in all PreservAll products. Intercept™ Technology protects your valuables by acting as a preferential corrosion site – it becomes a “sacrificial anode”.

Corrosive gases that come into contact with our Intercept™ materials bond to the present copper molecules. The copper molecules and the Intercept™ product itself (bag, film, tab, etc.) then degrade over time, rather than the object of value.

Intercept™ Technology gains all the benefits of copper while retaining the flexibility and reusability of plastic. It’s a copper alloy in and of itself. Temperature and humidity independent, antimicrobial and fully protective, it’s the most reliable way to protect your valuables.

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