5 Major Uses of Copper

2024/01/08 16:05

Copper has many useful properties and is the third most commonly used metal in the world. What are its applications and which industries consume the most copper?

1.House construction

Nearly half of copper supply flows into buildings, from homes to businesses. Just one home contains an average of 439 pounds of copper. Copper's malleability makes it easy to solder, yet it's strong enough to form the joints and connections needed for wire and pipe. Copper pipes are used in a variety of applications, including water pipes, refrigeration piping, heat pumps, and HVAC systems. Don’t forget about the copper wires that carry electricity throughout your home and connect it to telecommunications and cable networks. Home appliances also include copper pipes and wires.

2. Electronic products

Copper's excellent electrical conductivity and abundant raw materials make it the most efficient and cost-effective metal for electronics. The red metal is found in the form of wires and circuit boards in most of today's home appliances, from cell phones, laptops, and televisions to surveillance systems, power tools, and robot vacuum cleaners.

3. Transportation

Copper is also widely used in transportation, including the manufacture of ships, trains, aircraft and automobiles. Copper alloys are a standard material in the shipbuilding industry, from bolts and rivets to propellers and condenser tubes. In the railway industry, metal is used to manufacture many train components such as engines, brakes and controls, as well as in electrical and signaling systems. Aircraft require copper for cooling, hydraulics, navigation and electrical systems. In the automotive industry, copper is an integral part of brakes, bearings, connectors, engines, radiators and cables. Traditional vehicles alone can contain up to 50 pounds of copper. Rising penetration of electric vehicles (EVs) is another big market for copper, given the technology's heavy reliance on the metal. Each electric car requires 2 to 4 times the amount of copper as a conventional car. Electric vehicle charging stations also require large amounts of copper. As a result, analysts expect copper consumption in the green energy industry to increase fivefold by 2030 due to the rise of the electric vehicle market.

4.Industrial machinery and equipment

Industrial machinery and equipment used in many industries, such as the petrochemical industry, is itself made of copper. These machines and equipment include copper piping systems, electric motors, evaporators, condensers, heat exchangers, valves and vessels for containing corrosive media.Corrosion-resistant copper alloys are key materials in the manufacture of subsea facilities such as desalination machinery and offshore oil and gas drilling platforms.As in the electric car industry, copper's cleantech metal status stems from its use as a raw material in making windmill turbines and solar systems.

5. Medical

Although the market is not as large as the above mentioned industries, healthcare is another industry that relies on copper. This is mainly due to the antibacterial properties of copper. Studies have shown that bacteria, viruses and yeast cannot survive on copper surfaces for long periods of time because the metal disrupts the charge of the microbial cell membranes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says copper surfaces can kill 99.9% of bacteria within two hours. Copper or copper alloys have replaced plastics and other metals on high-touch surfaces such as countertops, doorknobs, railings, bed rails, call buttons, chairs and even pens to help curb the spread of hospital infections. According to the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, replacing hospital surfaces with copper antimicrobial devices can reduce hospital infections by at least 58%.

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