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Copper Alloy Properties

Introduction

Copper is an important engineering material since it is widely used in its pure state and also in alloys with other metals.   In its pure state it is the most important material in the electrical industry.   It has high electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance and is easy to fabricate.   It has reasonable tensile strength, controllable annealing properties and general soldering and joining characteristics.   Alloyed copper in the form of brass, and bronze is used extensively throughout the mechanical engineering industry.

Copper alloys do not have a sharply defined yield point, so yield strength is reported either as 0.5% extension under load, or as 0.2% offset or 0,05% offset.   On the basis (0.5% extension), yield strength of annealed material is approximately one-third the tensile strength.   As the material is cold worked or hardened, it becomes less ductile, and yield strength approaches tensile strength.

Copper is specified according to temper, which is established by cold working or annealing.   Typical levels are: soft, half-hard, hard, spring, and extra-spring.   Yield strength of a hard-temper copper is approximately two-thirds of tensile strength. For brasses, phosphor bronzes, or other commonly cold-worked grades, the hardest available tempers are also the strongest. Ductility is sacrificed, of course, to gain strength.   Copper-beryllium alloys can be precipitation hardened to the highest strength levels attainable in copper-base alloys.



Relevant Standards
  1. BS EN 1976:1998..Copper and copper alloys. Cast unwrought copper products
  2. BS EN 1978:1998..Copper and copper alloys. Copper cathodes
  3. CEN 133/TC European numbering system (in preparation)ref .European Numbering System for Non-Ferrous Metals
  4. BS EN 1412:1996 :Copper and copper alloys. European numbering system
  5. BS EN 1173:1996: Copper and copper alloys. Material condition or temper designation
  6. BS EN 1982:1999:Copper and copper alloys. Ingots and castings

Sample Unalloyed Wrought Copper Properties

Notes:
The values shown are for general guidance only for detailed values refer to standards, and supplier literature..
The mechanical property ranges from minimum (No temper- anealed) to maximum (Full temper)

Unalloyed Copper
Number Cu P Pb Sn Zn Notes 0.2%Proof Strength Tensile Strength Elong'n ISO spec'n
  % % % % %   MPa MPa %  
CW004A 99.9         Suitable for conductors/fabricated
electrical components - not in reducing atm's
50-340 200-400 50-5 Cu-ETP
CW006A 99.9         General engineering and building applications - not in red atm's. 50-340 200-400 50-5 Cu-FRTP
CW008A 99.95         Oxygen-free version of Cu-ETP for use in red'g atmos's. 50-340 200-400 50-5 Cu-OF


Brass

The copper-zinc brasses consist of a series of alloys of copper up to about 40% Zinc. The property of the alloy varies as the zinc percentage changes. One of the most useful alloys is the 70%Cu and 30% Zn alloy is famed for its deep-drawing ability. This alloy is known as cartridge brass. It is also used for radiator cores, tanks, lamp fixtures etc. Copper-Zinc brasses containing additional elements such as tin, aluminium, silicon, manganese, nickel, and lead are referred to as "alloy brasses". These alloys alloy further property enhancements to enable the brasses to be used for a wider range of applications.

Sample Wrought Brass Properties

Notes:
The values shown are for general guidance only for detailed values refer to standards, and supplier literature..
The mechanical property ranges from minimum (No temper- anealed) to maximum (Full temper)

Brass
Number Cu P Pb Sn Zn Notes 0.2%Proof Strength Tensile Strength Elong'n ISO spec'n
  % % % % %   MPa MPa %  
CW500L 94.0-96.0       Rem. Very good cold working properties
for electrical
60-420 240-420 45-4 CuZn5
CW504L 71.0-73.0       Rem. Very good cold working properties for extreme deep drawing 120-420 310-500 30-2 CuZn28
CW509L 59.5-61.5       Rem. Muntz metal - good hot and cold working properties. 200-420 340-500 45-2 CuZn40


Sample Wrought Leaded Brass Properties
Leaded Brass
Number Cu P Pb Sn Zn Notes 0.2%Proof Strength Tensile Strength Elong'n ISO spec'n
  % % % % %   MPa MPa %  
CW603N 60.0-62.0   2.5-3.5 2.5-3.5 Rem. These alloys have excellent machinability
but very limited cold workability
160-450 340-580 35-5 CuZn36Pb3
CW606N 61.0-62.0   1.6-2.5   Rem. Good machinability.Reasonable cold working. 160-450 300-580 45-5 CuZn37Pb2
CW610N 59.0-60.5   0.2-0.8   Rem. Machinable, Good cold working, 150-450 360-580 40-5 CuZn39Pb0.5


Copper-Tin Bronze

Alloys consisting of principally copper and tin are properly called "tin bronzes". since phosphorus is usually added to these alloys as a deoxidising agent during casting, the tin bronzes are commercially known as "phosphur bronzes". These alloys possess desirable properties such as high strength, wear resistance, and good sea water resistance.

Sample Wrought Tin Bronze Properties

Notes:
The values shown are for general guidance only for detailed values refer to standards, and supplier literature..
The mechanical property ranges from minimum (No temper- anealed) to maximum (Full temper)

Tin Bronze
Number Cu P Pb Sn Zn Notes 0.2%Proof Strength Tensile Strength Elong'n ISO Spec'n
  % % % % %   MPa MPa %  
CW450K Rem. 0.01-0.4   3.5-4.5   Strength increases as tin content
increases. Good
140-850 320-950 60-1 CuSn4
CW452K Rem. 0.01-0.4   5.5-7.0   Springs, instrument components, wire 140-950 340-1000 60-1 CuSn6
CW460K Rem. 0.2-0.4 0.1-0.5 7.5-9.0     280-550 460-650 40-5 CuSn8PbP


Sample Wrought Copper Aluminium properties

Notes:

The values shown are for general guidance only for detailed values refer to standards, and supplier literature..
The mechanical property ranges from minimum (No temper- anealed) to maximum (Full temper)

Copper Aluminium
Number Cu Al Fe Ni As Mn Notes 0.2%Proof Strength Tensile Strength Elong'n ISO Spec'n
  % % % % % %   MPa MPa %  
CW300G Rem. 4.0-6.5     0.1-0.4 - Alpha phase alloy for tube making.
May beheavily cold worked
130 380 55 CuAl5As
CW306G Rem. 9.0-11.0 2.0-4.0     1.5-3.5 High strength alloys for usein aggressive media when 330-510 600-720 15-5 CuAl10Fe3Mn2
CW308G Rem. 10.5-12.5 5.0-7.0 5.0-7.0   - High Strength, Good wear & impact strength. 500-680 750-850 10-5 CuAl11Fe6Ni6


Sample Wrought Copper Nickel alloy properties
Copper Nickel
Number Cu Al Fe Ni As Mn Notes 0.2%Proof Strength Tensile Strength Elong'n ISO Spec'n
  % % % % % %   MPa MPa %  
CW350H Rem.     24.0-26.0     UK 'silver' coinage alloy. 120 300 - CuNi25
CW352H Rem.   1.0-2.0 9.0-11.0   0.5-1.0 Excellent sea-water corrosion
resistance.
100-420 290-520 35-8 CuNi10Fe1Mn
CW354H Rem.   0.4-1.0 30.0-32.0   0.5-1.5 Excellent sea-water corrosion resistance. Erosion resistant 130-330 350-520 35-12 CuNi30Mn1Fe


Links Providing information on Copper
  1. Copper Development Association - UK...An excellent UK based reference source
  2. Copper Organisation... An excellent reference site
  3. Brass Advisory Service.. Information on Brass
  4. Anchor Bronze and Metals Inc...US Supplier - Comprehensive database Incl. Properties

  5.     Anchor Made-To-Measure copper alloys...A table showing related international specifications
  6. Granta Copper Alloys...Very good look up table
  7. Matweb... The best source of material Information in the Web
  8. Key to Metals... useful information in resource centre
  9. CD4 Copper KeyAlloys... Copper Alloy composition worlddwide and their equivalents

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Last Updated 12/03/2010