Copper is one of the most widely used non-ferrous metals in industry. It is extracted from ores of copper such as copper glance, copper pyrites, melachite and azurite. Copper ores are found in the state of Sikkim and Bihar of India and Bharma.
Copper ore is first ground and then smelted in a reverberatory or small blast furnace for producing an impure alloy. Then the air is blown through the molten metal to remove sulphur and iron contamination to obtain blister copper in the converter. Copper is then refined further using electrolysis processes.
Pure copper is soft, malleable and ductile metal with a reddish-brown appearance. It is a good conductor of electricity. It is non-corrosive under ordinary conditions and resists weather very effectively. Its tensile strength varies from 300 to 470 MN/m2 and melting point is 1084°C. It is one of the best conductors of heat and it is highly resistant to corrosion. This non ferrous metal can withstand severe bending and forging without failure. It does not cast well. If copper is heated to red heat and cooled slowly it becomes brittle, but if cooled rapidly it becomes soft, malleable and ductile. It can be welded at red heat.
Copper is mainly used in making electric cables and wires for electric machinery, motor winding, electric conducting appliances, and electroplating etc. It can be easily forged, casted, rolled and drawn into wires. Copper in the form of tubes is used widely in heat transfer work mechanical engineering field. It is used for household utensils. It is also used in production of boilers, condensers, roofing etc. It is used for making useful alloys with tin, zinc, nickel and aluminium. It is used to form alloys like brass, bronze and gun metal. Alloys of copper are made by alloying it with zinc, tin, and lead and these find wide range of applications. Brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc, finds applications in utensils, household fittings, decorative objects, etc. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin and possesses very good corrosion resistance. It is used in making valves and bearings.
Brass and bronze can be machined at high speeds to fine surface finish.
The following copper alloys are important
1. Copper-zinc alloys (Brasses)
2. Copper-tin alloys (Bronzes)
Reference Introduction to basic Manufacturing Processes and Workshop Technology by Rajender Singh.
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