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Application of Copper in Modern World

Topic: 
Copper application

It's long history for human to take advantages of copper (see our article of Bronze in Chinese History) , and still, copper is very important in modern life. Let's take a look at the applications of copper in industries.

Copper application in old time VS now

Copper is widely used in electrical, light industry, machine building, construction, defense  and many other industries.  Take Chinese non-ferrous metal market for example, consumption of copper is second largest (only less than aluminum). 

Chinese consumed 9.85 million tons of refined copper and 29.50 million tons of virgin aluminum. In China, the per capita consumption of copper is 8.0 Kg (reference 2016-2022 Chinese non-ferrous metal market analysis report). Electrical and electronic industry is the two of most important industries of copper application, consumes more than a half of Chinese copper consumption, because copper is the best non-precious metal conductor of electricity.

Copper consumption in Chinese industries (datas from GUOTAI JUNAN Securities)
Industries Electricity & electronic Construction Consumer goods and other daily necessities Industrial machinery and equipment Transportation
Copper consumption (%) 60% 25% 6% 5% 4%

 

1. Copper application in electricity industry

a) Electric power transmission. The demand of high conductivity copper is huge in power transmission area, the copper is mainly used in production of power wire and cable, voltage transformer, switch and connector.

Many years ago, Chinese copper proudction can not satisfy the demand of copper, considering aluminum weights only 30% of copper, aluminum is used for high voltage overhead transmission line, in order to reduce the total weight.

copper wire and cable

But now, copper regains its favorable in this field, because high voltage overhead transmission line has changed as buried cable, which is more environment friendly. In this case, copper is prefered because copper is better condutor and copper cable has smaller size. 

b) Electrical machinery manufacturing. Electrical machinery manufacturing field consumes large amount of copper alloy, because it's high conductivity and high intensity.

magnetoelectric machine (copper application)

c) Communication cable. More and more communication cable use fiber-optic cable to instead copper cable since 1980s. However, when aural signal & video signal access terminal user, copper still useful because its high conductivity and easily branching.

Copper used as communication cable

2. Copper application in electronic industry.

a) Electron tube. High frequency & ultrahigh frequency (UHF)  transmitting tube, waveguide tube and permatron products require high-purity oxygen-free copper.

 

b) Printed circuit. Copper foil is very useful for products require fine layout circuit. Such as radio, television, computer and so on.

Printed circuit requires copper foil

 

3. Copper application in machinery and metallurgy industry

a) Mechanical engineering. All most of machines have copper spare parts, for example sleeve of large type extrusion machine and forging press use bronze spare parts, one single spare part may weight in several tons.

 large type extrusion machine

b) Metallurgy machine. Copper is widely used  for powder system and electricity equipments while construction of metallurgic plant. In case of thermometallurgy, an extremely spare parts, crystallizer, is made from chromium-copper or silver-copper alloy.

c) Alloying agent. Copper is important agent for steel and aluminum alloys, 0.2%~0.5% copper agent in low content alloy structural steel could improve the intensity and corrosion resistance.

 

4. Copper application in construction and art.

a) Plumbing system.  Copper pipe is widely used for plumbing systems, especially in developed countries. Recently copper pipes are more and more popular in Chinese market. (Don't forget Winland Metallurgy supply high quality copper pipes)

Copper pipe for plumbing systems

b) Coins. Yes, belowing are some copper coins in acient China.

Chinese copper coins

 

5. Copper application in transportation.

a) Shipbuilding. Due to its wonderful performance of corrosion resistance to sea water, copper alloys, such as albronze, manganese bronze, aldurbra and cupro-nickel, are standard material for shipbuilding. The copper alloys weight 2%~3% of the total weight of warship and merchant ship.

copper alloys weight 2%~3% of the total weight of warship and merchant ship.

b) Automobile​. Normally every car has 10Kg~20Kg copper, copper usage is different for various types of automibile.

c) Aircraft. Many spare parts made from copper alloys.

 

6. Copper application in light industry.

a) Air conditioning & refrigeration. Our products Copper pancake coils, copper inner grooved pipe, Insulated copper pipe,  is widely used in this area.

b) Watch industry. Clock brass, an alloy with 1.5%~2% lead, is popular for mass production of watch and calculagraph.

Clock brass is popular for mass production of watch and calculagraph.