Copper and its Alloys

Copper is a metal that is extracted from the earth, is essential to the development of all forms of life and has been vital in the progress of civilisation, contributing to both social and technological development for more than 10,000 years."

The valuable properties of copper which were evident at the dawn of civilisation were an attractive colour, excellent ductility and malleability, and a capability of being hardened by working.  In modern times, further properties have been appreciated and exploited across a wide range of applications: high thermal and electrical conductivities, excellent corrosion and biofouling resistance and antimicrobial properties.  

Today, copper and copper alloys make a significant contribution to the latest developments in renewable energy, information and communication technology, architecture, health and sanitation. The production and use of copper are also vital parts of our economy. Copper is simply essential for life.


For millennia, copper has played a vital role in humanity’s progress. Here, you can explore the properties that make copper indispensable to mankind, including its high thermal and electrical conductivity and its recyclability.


Copper is a naturally occurring element that is extracted from ores using modern mining and processing methods which turn it into useful products. This section explains the route from mine to product.


Pure copper is soft and has a low strength. By alloying with metals such as tin, zinc, nickel and aluminium, the hardness, strength and corrosion resistance are improved to give a wide range of industrial alloys.
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