Copper is—together with its alloys—one of the most versatile metals known to man. The ideal combination of its most valuable qualities—conductivity, malleability, ductility, and corrosion-resistance—make the metal perfect for use in a wide range of applications. What’s more, these qualities can be further enhanced when composition variations are infused into its manufacturing process.
Two of the most common copper alloys, bronze and brass, contain small amounts of other alloy elements in order to modify the base metal’s basic properties and enhance its durability, manipulability, weld-ability, and creep resistance. Once other alloy elements are introduced, copper will then be able to hold up to conditions that its purest form cannot withstand.
Brass is a copper alloy containing up to 45 percent zinc. Usually, trace amounts of lead or tin is added into the mix, depending on the need (lead is added for malleability, and tin for strength. Applications of brass alloys include plugs and lamp fittings, radiator cores and tanks, and electrical terminals.
Bronze is an alloy generally made of copper and tin and containing portions of aluminum, manganese, nickel, phosphorous, and silicon. Bronze metals are good for use in architectural fittings, springs, bearings, and electrical connectors, contacts, and terminals.