Copper and Its Many Uses

You may not realize it, but copper plays a very prominent role in our world. You find it in musical instruments, pennies, bullets, automotive parts, and electrical connectors. Some metals are specific to one industry, but copper is widely used in many different sectors. In fact, it is so broadly used that its sales have been used to assess the health of the overall economy.

Uses of copper

(Pixabay / disign)

About 65 percent of copper’s overall usage is within the electrical industry because it offers these qualities:

  • Highly conductive (the most efficient electrical conductor next to silver)
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Malleable (changes its form easily)
  • Ductile (won’t lose strength or become brittle when stretched)

Most every form of electrical wire is produced from copper. In addition, virtually every type of electronic device has some derivative of copper in it. It may take the form of electronic connectors, printed circuit boards (PCBs), micro-chips, semi-conductors, vacuum tubes, circuit wiring and contacts, or welding electrodes. Copper is vital in televisions, cell phones, computers, cameras, and more.

Copper is also used heavily in the construction industry, with copper tubing as the gold standard for water systems in homes and other buildings. Copper water pipes are a popular choice because they restrain the growth of bacteria and viruses in the water they transport. They are also used frequently in heating systems. People like copper tubing because it can be easily bent and soldered, facilitating simple assembly. Copper is also a favorite for decorative effects. (Think of the domes on state capitols across the country.) Inside buildings, copper is often used for light fixtures, bathroom or kitchen faucets, and cabinetry hardware.

The transportation industry depends on copper, both for its electrical and thermal properties. Copper is the material of choice for radiators and oil coolers. Copper wiring is a mainstay for glass defrost systems and mirror and window controls. It is also used in airplanes. As cars begin to include more electronic components, they will draw more heavily on copper, and the rise in electric vehicles will further accelerate the demand.

There are copper pots and pans and copper art pieces. (The Statue of Liberty wears a cloak of 80 tons of copper sheet). Copper works well in clocks and watches because it is non-magnetic and doesn’t throw off the mechanical workings. Pre-1981 pennies were made primarily of copper, but now they are made from copper-plated zinc. As you look at the world around you with new eyes, you’ll be surprised at how much of it includes copper.

A variety of products can be copper plated for improved appearance, durability, malleability, and conductivity. Gold Plating Services offers a wide range of copper plating supplies and plating kits.

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