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Understanding Copper-Base Alloys

The following is a list of physical and mechanical properties common to cast copper alloys. Although not every property is applicable to every alloy, this range, which occurs in unique combinations, isn’t found in any other alloy group:Brass Casting Example

good corrosion resistance, which contributes to its durability and long-term cost-effectiveness
favorable mechanical properties ranging from pure copper, which is soft and ductile, to manganese-bronze, which rivals the mechanical properties of quenched and tempered steel. In addition, almost all copper alloys retain their mechanical properties, including impact toughness, at low temperatures;
high thermal and electrical conductivity, which is greater than any metal except silver. Although the conductivity of copper drops when alloyed, copper alloys with low conductivity still conduct both heat and electricity better than other corrosion-resistant materials
bio-fouling resistance, as copper inhibits marine organism growth. Although this property (unique to copper) decreases upon alloying, it is retained at a useful level in many alloys, such as copper-nickel
low friction and wear rates, such as with the high-leaded tin-bronzes, which are cast into sleeve bearings and exhibit lower wear rates than steel
good castability, as all copper alloys can be sand cast and many can be centrifugal, continuous, permanent mold and die cast
good machinability, as the leaded copper alloys are free-cutting at high machining speeds, and many unleaded alloys such as nickel-aluminum bronze are readily machinable at recommended feeds and speeds with proper tooling
ease of post-casting processing, as good surface finish and high tolerance control is readily achieved. In addition, many cast copper alloys are polished to a high luster, and plating, soldering, brazing and welding also are routinely performed
large alloy choice, since several alloys may be suitable candidates for any given application depending upon design loads and corrosivity of the environment
comparable costs to other metals due to their high yield, low machining costs and little requirement for surface coatings such as paint

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