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Copper, a reddish-gold metal, is known for its ductility and high thermal and electrical conductivity, but when it comes to tensile strength, it's considered moderate compared to other metals. Pure copper's tensile strength is about 210 to 250 megapascals (MPa), which means it can withstand a good amount of stretching before breaking. For context, high-strength steel can have a tensile strength upwards of 550 MPa. However, copper's strength can be significantly increased through the process of cold-working or by creating copper alloys, such as bronze and brass, which are much stronger due to the addition of other metals like tin or zinc.
Despite not being the strongest metal, copper's resilience is evident in its other properties. It's highly resistant to corrosion, which makes it ideal for plumbing, roofing, and electrical wiring, where longevity is crucial. According to the Copper Development Association, copper roofing, for example, can last over 100 years. Moreover, its antimicrobial properties are increasingly recognized, with studies showing that copper surfaces can kill bacteria and viruses, potentially reducing the spread of infections. This combination of durability, conductivity, and health benefits makes copper a versatile and valuable material in various industries.
Copper is a metal that is known for possessing both ductile and malleable properties. When thinking in terms of its strength, it is important to keep both of these characteristics in mind. Here are some examples of how it demonstrates a great deal of strength in comparison to other metals.
When it comes to being a malleable metal, few substances can compare to copper. Essentially, a malleable substance can be stretched, shaped, and bent without experiencing any cracking or breakage. When it comes to producing products made of metal components such as piping, this can be very important. Unlike some plastics and metals such as iron that can become brittle under certain processes, copper will give without breaking, making it very easy to work with. The finished product will often be easy to install and also easy to maintain, since the metal does not have a tendency to corrode with the ease of some others.
From the perspective of ductile properties, copper can undergo a great deal of stress before any type of fracturing will take place. This is in contrast to steel, which becomes less ductile as more carbon is introduced into the mix. By contrast, copper will not become brittle under the same level of stress. In terms of rolling or hammering into shape, it will win hands down over more brittle metals that have to be melted and poured into molds.
As both a malleable and ductile metal, various types of copper and its alloys are the obvious choices for many different types of products. These may include a wide range of kitchen tools and appliances, such as cookware and teapots. Piping made from this metal works well for many aspects of home plumbing as well as systems in public buildings. Copper plating is often used for roofs and other outside portions of structures. Easy to work with and long lasting, it is indeed a very strong metal.