Working With Copper: 3 Metalworking Techniques

With excellent physical and chemical properties, it’s no wonder that copper ranks third in industrial use, just behind iron and aluminum. The uniquely reddish-brown metal exhibits high electrical and thermal conductivity, making it an essential component in electronics and gadgets, such as switches, computers, and mobile phones. It’s also applied in construction due to its malleable, corrosion-resistant, and antibacterial qualities. From pipes to doorknobs, you can spot this material in several parts of the house.

To create these products, the metal undergoes a certain manufacturing process first. Read on to learn some of the common ones before contacting a copper extrusion supplier.

Extrusion

This technique applies compressive forces to the metal to create smaller, uniform cross sections that usually have round, rectangular, T, or L shapes. The finished products are mainly tubes and pipes, which convey liquids for various purposes. Examples are potable water in homes and hydraulic fluids and refrigerants in automobiles.

The process of extrusion begins by heating the billet or the chunk of metal. It’s then loaded into a cylindrical chamber, where it’s pushed by a dummy block until it reaches the other end of the flow channel, called the die. This part has a molded, narrower opening, which shapes the material into the desired cross section as it passes through.

Drawing

This type of metalwork is similar to extrusion; it uses a die to produce reduced cross sections with a fixed shape. But, its application of force isn’t done through compression. Drawing uses tension instead to deform the metal. Once the material is placed in the chamber, it’s being drawn or pulled out so it comes out as an elongated piece with a smaller diameter. The process may be repeated until the desired thickness is achieved. This is performed to manufacture products like wires, rods, and tubes that are components of electric or mechanical devices.

Forging

This manufacturing technique applies compression to make geometric changes to the metal. This is done using two dies: one that remains stationary at the bottom and another above it that’s used to push down the material.

For many people, the process of forging sounds familiar as it’s the oldest form of metalwork. In ancient times, copper alloys called bronze were hammered by smiths to fashion various weaponry and tools. Today, the technique is used to produce electrical connectors, fittings, and caps. It can also create seals and gaskets, which are essential components in pipe systems.

Thanks to these special techniques, several wrought and cast metal products are commercially available now. Get in touch with a copper extrusion manufacturer today for your tubing and piping needs.

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