Story of Copper

Thos Begbie only uses 99.99% pure copper with an IACS conductivity of greater than 90% as its source of copper for both slab and cast coolers.

Copper has been used by humans for about 12 000 years! The island of Cyprus was a major source of copper for the ancient world. The word copper comes from Cyprium, later Cuprum, the Roman name for the Cyprian metal.

A huge deposit was discovered in 360 BC in SW Spain. The copper and iron discoloured the nearby river a reddish colour, called the ‘Rio Tinto’ as a result. The mining district was also named Rio Tinto.

A copper bar can be heated, rolled and drawn into wire as thin as a human hair.

Copper is corrosion resistant, non-magnetic and antibacterial and is widely used for electrical and communication components, as well as in heat exchangers.

Copper, when alloyed with zinc or tin, makes brass or bronze.

The era around 2000 BC to 600 BC was named the “Bronze Age”.

The first known coins minted by Julius Caesar were made of a copper-zinc alloy, while Octavianus Caesar used Cu-Pb-Sn alloys, and the legend of the first galvanic battery using copper soldered to lead, goes back to Baghdad in 226 AD.

Some properties of copper explained

  1. Silver has better properties of thermal conductivity than any other metal, including copper.
  2. Silver is 73 times more expensive than Copper and the thermal conductivity benefit is only 7% better!
  3. That is why copper is the logical choice for use in the water-cooled copper elements used as a heat exchanger between the molten metal content of the furnace and the outer shell.
  4. Typically, one can place a bare hand on the outer steel shell of a furnace containing slag and matte at a temperature of 1 200ºC.
  5. The copper element or cooler is so efficient in transferring heat away, that the ‘hot face’ is maintained at below 50ºC.
  6. In addition to copper’s thermal properties, it also has superior electricity transmitting capacity and, again only beaten by silver.
  7. In a bus tube application, copper tubing is used to transmit electricity efficiently, while water running through the tube keeps generated heat under control.
  8. Copper is considered highly corrosive resistant to most aggressive chemicals and acids, but is attacked by sulphur-based acids in hot humid conditions.
  9. Copper can easily be welded to copper and most other metals with a high degree of weld integrity.
  10. Finally, copper is 100% recyclable and can be melted and cast into complex shapes even incorporating water reticulating piping, optical fibre sensors and thermocouples.
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