Engineers can plate copper onto a variety of surfaces for use in the automotive, aerospace, electrical, or defense industries. Because copper is a soft, highly malleable metal with excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, it is the perfect substance for a variety of use cases. However, sometimes a harder surface may be required. In these instances, copper plating can be used to increase surface strength.
Here Are a Few Ways Copper Plating is Used for Engineering Applications
Copper was one of the earliest metals to be mined. In fact, it is believed that it has been mined since 8,000 B.C. and smelted since 5,000 B.C. Early cultures used the metal to make weapons, tools, surgical instruments, boat hulls, mirrors, currency, and decorative brooches. Today, copper is most commonly used to engineer electrical wire, roofing materials, plumbing pipes, and industrial machinery.
Copper for Electrical Wiring
Electrical wiring accounts for 60% of all copper applications, while roofing and plumbing make up 20% and machinery makes up 15%. Though there are many other materials that can be used for electrical wiring, copper has excellent electrical conductivity properties and is thus the preferred material for almost all types of wiring.
For instance, copper is used for electrical wiring in the power generation, transmission, and distribution industries. It is used for telecommunications wiring as well as communications wiring and cable wiring. Of all the copper mined from the earth, almost half of it is used to create copper wiring.
Copper for Electronics
When the information age brought us telephone communications, computer technology, hand-held electronics, and appliances, copper once again became an integral part of the revolution. The need for electrical conductivity and the quick dissipation of heat made copper a highly sought commodity. Circuit boards, heat sinks, magnetrons, and waveguides all use copper for electronic applications.
Copper for Automotives
As the automotive industry moves toward hybrid vehicles and electric motors, copper has become an increasingly important material. Motor-driven transportation accounts for 69% of electricity consumption, and copper increases the efficiency of that consumption. Copper motor rotors help vehicle manufacturers exceed the efficiency standards set by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).
Copper for Renewable Energy
In addition to improving the efficiency of electric vehicles, copper has become a valuable resource for renewable energy initiatives. Solar power, wind power, hydropower, and geothermal power all rely on the ability to harness natural resources and turn them into energy. Because copper is the second most effective thermal and electrical conductor (silver is the first), renewable energy conductors can generate less energy to meet demand.
Bend Plating provides copper plating services for engineering applications in the electrical, automotive, and renewable energy industries. Contact us to learn more about our copper plating services.