As a soft and malleable metal material, copper and its various alloys have become standard across multiple manufacturing verticals. Aside from pure copper metal, some of the most popular copper alloys include bronze, brass, and nickel silver. The material’s versatility, combined with its general availability, affordability, and broad range of beneficial chemical and physical properties, make copper an ideal choice for many stamping projects.
Properties of Copper Metal
Copper possesses numerous beneficial properties that make it an ideal material for a variety of metal fabrication processes. Some of these properties include:
- Excellent thermal/electrical conductivity. Though some high-value metals may surpass copper in terms of electrical conductivity, copper features the highest conductivity rating among non-precious metals. Copper also features excellent thermal conductivity combined with a high melting point.
- Good corrosion resistance. Copper forms a thin oxide layer on the surface of copper components. This layer makes copper parts effectively immune to corrosion as long as the layer remains undamaged.
- Antimicrobial. Copper penetrates the exterior of bacteria and viruses and displaces metal ions in their protein structures, effectively killing the harmful pathogens. Additionally, free radicals created when copper comes in contact with oxygen will cause microbes to explode.
What is Copper Metal Used For?
Copper metal has an expansive range of use cases. In metal stamping, copper metal and alloys see common use for creating:
- Electrical components. Copper and copper alloys are the preferred material for creating electrical components in aerospace, automotive, building and construction, consumer electronics, and much more. Copper is the premier choice for motor rotors and stators, transformer windings, busbars, cables, connectors, and much more.
- Medical devices. The beneficial electrical properties of copper, combined with its antimicrobial nature, make it an ideal choice for creating electrical components and various other parts used internally within medical devices.
What Type of Copper Should I Use?
At ESI, we primarily use three types of copper for stamping projects:
- — C110 is 99.9% pure copper. It is extremely ductile with high electrical conductivity, outstanding thermal conductivity, and a high resistance to soil corrosion.
- — C194 is a high-performance alloy used around the world. It offers a good balance of electrical conductivity, high tensile strength, good solderability, and plating compatibility. It appears in applications such as semiconductor leadframes and pins, sockets, connectors, and mass terminations.
- — C195 is a high-strength copper alloy with high electrical conductivity. Given its balanced combination of strength and conductivity, this alloy is used in an array of applications, including electrical hardware. It allows parts to be reduced in size without sacrificing performance.
ESI also specializes in stamping copper alloys such as brass, phosphor bronze and beryllium copper.
Get Material Selection Advice From ESI
At ESI, our Material Selector Tool makes the material selection process easy by helping you quickly identify the ideal material for your needs. Our library of Material Selection Guides can offer additional insight into the materials used in metal stamping and their preferred applications.
We also offer expanded copper metal solutions for EMI shielding and lightning strike protection through our partner, CThru Metals.