We can define the melting point of any metal as that specific point when it starts turning from solid to liquid. At this exact temperature, there is an equilibrium between the metals’ solid and liquid phases.
This means that you can add more heat to the metal without adding any overall temperature beyond this point.
Melting Point of Copper
From the above description, we can as well say that the Melting Point Of Copper is the point of equilibrium where it has both solid and liquid phases. This is a virtual existence at a temperature where the solid transitions to a liquid.
You will note that this transition will inflict a lot of chemical and structural changes on the copper metal. Another pointer you should take when analyzing the melting temperature of copper is specificity.
This is because copper exists in two forms namely pure copper and copper alloy. You should also be very keen on the unit of measurement you use.
Now let’s delve into specifics of the melting points of pure copper and of copper alloys:
Pure Copper Melting Temperature
Pure copper refers to copper that has nothing added to it. The melting point of this copper is 1085°C. In other units, we have it at 1984°F and 1357K.
We are also weary of the existence of pure copper in other forms like powder copper or nanoparticles. However, their melting points still lie within these temperature ranges.
You may also bump into other measurements such as the joules per mole or Rankine that have been used to define the melting point of copper. That should not surprise you, they have simply been derived from the main temperature units that we have given above.
Copper Alloys Melting Temperatures
Copper Alloys are basically pure copper with additives that give it superior properties. That is why they are preferred for many engineering applications as opposed to copper in its pure form.
We know that each and every metal or non-metal material has its very own melting point. The implication of this is that we will have variations in the melting points when we combine copper with any of them.
The alloy composition acquires a new melting point and the alloy combinations are very many. However, we will only focus on those alloys that have significance in many industrial applications.
|Copper Alloy||Melting Point in °C|
You can now make a clear comparison of how the melting point of pure copper compares with each alloy
Factors Affecting the Melting Point of Copper
You may get instances where the melting point of copper fluctuates. This is normally brought about by various factors that we are going to have an in-depth discussion about.
The presence of impurities in copper will tend to lower its melting point. However, the impact on its boiling is different since these impurities increase it.
The science behind this is that the impurities have a stabilizing effect on the copper metals liquid phase. This means that you will experience lower melting points on any impure copper or its alloys of copper.
Many fabricators usually lower the melting point of pure copper by adding alloys to it. This not only enhances its qualities but also saves on the cost of fabrication.
· Atmospheric Pressure
The melting point of copper is directly proportional to the atmospheric pressure. This means that you will have variations of the copper meting temperature depending on the prevailing environmental conditions.
The copper melting temperature will reduce as your altitude increases. This means at the top of a mountain, you will use more heat to melt copper than at ground level.
· Grain Size and Structure
The grain size and structure usually affect copper with impurities or as an alloy. The grain structure, say for an impure copper or brass alloy will vary from that of pure copper.
Basically, anything you add to pure copper alters its grain size and structure therefore changing its melting point. The Hall-Patch Relationship states that any metal with a small crystalline grain structure is usually very strong and hard, thus giving it a lower melting point.
Importance of Knowing The Melting Point Of Copper
We have several reasons why you should have knowledge of your copper melting point:
- It will assist you in settling for the most appropriate furnace to use when fabricating copper. This will also determine your energy source and the kind of heat treatment that you will apply in the process.
- It will help you determine the level of component failure in the event that your copper structure is exposed to temperatures exceeding the melting point. You should note that failures like crepe-induced fractures sometimes happen way below the melting point
- It will assist any fabricator to gauge the suitability of his copper metal for the project they are undertaking. Metals are generally most formable when in a liquid state.
Ways Of Melting Copper
There are a number of ways that you can use to melt your copper. You can use them on copper in any form such as sheets, bars or just rods.
Let us take a brief swipe at some of the common methods you can apply;
- Induction Heating: you can melt or heat your copper using a combination of both electromagnets and oscillators. These are powered by an alternating current having a very high frequency.
- Furnace Heating: you can use a variety of furnaces to melt your copper. The common types include an induction furnace, a gas furnace, and a cupola furnace
- Arc Melting: this is the use of a very high electric current to bring copper metal to its melting point. If the current is high enough, the copper can be totally melted.
- Microwave Melting: these are furnaces that make use of microwaves to heat the copper to a molten state.
- Laser Melting: as the name suggests, we use a very high-powered laser beam to melt a copper metal to the required design.
- Infrared Heating: when there is a need to reduce the oxidation rate, we use infrared to melt the copper metal as required.
- Electron Beam Melting: this method uses an electron beam that is powerful enough to make the copper temperature exceed its melting point.
- Solar Furnace Melting: this process uses energy from the sun to power the furnaces. This an efficient green technology that has gained popularity in the modern metal fabrication industry.
- Hot Isostatic Pressing: this is a combination of both pressure and pressure to bring the copper metal to its melting point.
- Vacuum Melting: when you require pure copper with no contamination, vacuum melting is your best bet. This makes it possible to easily achieve high melting temperatures.
- Direct Electric Heating: this is where you pass current through the copper metal. The heat generated is sufficient enough to cause its melting. It a very fast and efficient method normally used for most copper alloys.
- Cold Crucible Melting: you can achieve the melting point of copper by heating it using electromagnetic induction. This process requires a water-cooled crucible.
- Oxy-fuel Torch: this is a flaming torch that combines oxygen and propane that is hot enough to melt the copper metal.
- Suction Casting: this method is mostly used when fabricating intricate parts made of copper. The copper is melted using very high heat.
Impact Of Copper Melting Point On Practical Applications
When copper achieves its melting point, many changes occur such as alteration of its physical and mechanical properties. This means that any component made of that copper is bound to fail in that environment.
Determining the point at which your copper component begins to melt will help you a lot in strategizing that practical application. We can take a peek at some of these applications:
· Electrical Applications
We know copper as one of the best electrical conductors available in the market. Besides using it in electrical wires, it is also used in heating systems and heat sinks, to make transformer parts, and many more.
All these components and their designs have to efficiently work in their respective application areas. This can only be possible if you have a detailed understanding of the thermal properties of the metal.
· Welding and Soldering
We use copper rods in many brazing applications such as welding and soldering. By knowing the thermal properties of copper, we establish at what point it will melt during welding for it to assist in the final joining.
· Casting and Molding
Copper casting can produce for you very many magnificent products such as sculptures, exquisite jewelry, or even vehicle parts. For you to settle on the most appropriate furnace for this, you have to know the melting temperature of copper.
This will also come in handy when you are going for the tooling equipment you will use. They must be resilient enough to withstand the hot copper at its melting point.
We have determined that copper melts at 1085°C or thereby depending on other factors such as impurities. This knowledge is very important to metal fabricators and anyone handling copper metal.
Such information goes a long way in helping you determine whether copper is the best material for your project.
Metal Alloys Melting Point – Source: Engineering Toolbox
Copper – Source: Science Direct
The Melting Point of Metals – Source: Metal Supermarket