Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The Surprising Role of Copper in Green Energy Solutions


The push for green energy sources has never been stronger, as scientific studies show real evidence of global warming and climate shift. Green energy, also referred to as renewable energy, is defined as any source of energy derived from nature, such as sun, wind, or water. In order to be considered green energy, it must not produce any form of pollution. What do green energy and copper have to do with each other? As it turns out, quite a bit. Read more to learn about the surprising role of copper in green energy solutions.

What is Copper?

Copper is an element derived from naturally occurring ores in the earth. It is a type of metal found on the periodic table of elements, abbreviated Cu. Copper is a soft, shiny metal that has an orange appearance when new, and over time it becomes brown and eventually green as it oxidizes. One of the most important qualities of copper is that it is a conductor of electricity, which largely defines how it is used and its value.

How is Copper Refined?

Copper ore is mined directly from the earth and refined through a multi-step process until it is purified. Then it can be made into a variety of copper products, such as electrical wiring, water pipes, cookware, auto parts, and even household hardware like doorknobs.

Green Benefits of Copper

Copper has many qualities that make it environmentally friendly:
  • Completely recyclable. Copper can be recycled without losing any of its properties. It is the same amount of copper before and after recycling.
  • Long lasting. Among the many types of metal, copper lasts just as long or longer than some others and is especially corrosion resistant when exposed to moisture, which is why copper pipes are used in plumbing.
  • Can be refined by bioleaching. One way that copper refining is lowering its impact on the environment is through the use of bioleaching, a process that uses bacteria to separate copper from ore.

The Connection Between Copper and Green Energy

When it comes to the role of copper in green energy solutions, the most valuable characteristic is its ability to conduct or transfer energy. Copper wiring is used to deliver the electrical energy that is created by harnessing the power of wind, water, and sunlight. The efficiency of copper as a conductor reduces carbon dioxide emissions and less energy is required overall to produce electricity. Renewable energy systems contain at least 6 times the amount of copper in other forms of energy production.

Are Green Energy and Renewable Energy the Same?

Green energy and renewable energy are similar, but not the same. A renewable energy source is something that comes from nature and can be replenished. For an energy source to be renewable and also green, it must not produce any emissions or pollutants that harm the environment. Green energy is the term reserved for the cleanest possible energy sources that have the lowest impact on the earth and its atmosphere.

Why Purchase Copper Products from Atlas Bronze?

Atlas Bronze is a leading manufacturer of copper alloy forgings. Our customers include a variety of industries from power generation to military to aerospace. If you’re in need of quality copper materials, Atlas Bronze is a manufacturer you can trust. Call 800-478-0887 or contact us today for more information or shop our online store.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Brazing vs. Welding: What’s the Difference?

Sparks fly as a gloved hand welds metal on a table

In manufacturing, there will almost always come a time when you have to bring two metals together and create a solid, sturdy connection. 

While many factors will help determine the best approach, it usually always comes down to brazing and welding. Which one is best for your application? How do you know which one to choose? And what is the difference between brazing and welding? 

Let’s take a closer look at each so that you can better identify the best option for your particular application. 

What is Brazing? 

Brazing is a process or technique used for joining together at least two pieces of metal. It works by using a filler material of your choice with a low melting point to hold the two pieces of metal together. 

The idea is that the heat used to melt the filler should not be enough to melt the base metal you are joining together, keeping its properties and integrity fully intact. 

What is Welding? 

Welding is another process or technique used to join together at least two pieces of metal. Instead of using a filler, you will melt the actual base metals so that they come together and harden as one. 

To keep the proper form of the metal, pressure may or may not be used with welding. 

Brazing vs. Welding: Which Do You Choose? 

How do you know which method of joining metals will work best for your project? As mentioned above, there are a few different factors that you can consider. Together, they can point you toward brazing or welding.

The Types of Metal Used

You have to consider the types of metal you are using. Are they both the same? Are they different? The metals you use in your application will play a role in determining the best way to join them. 

For instance, when using the same type of metal, welding often works just fine. However, because welding melts the metal, this can be tough when you have metals with two different melting points. 

If you find yourself in a situation with metals that have very different properties, brazing will be the ideal solution for creating the joint between them. This way you won’t have to worry about melting one metal too much while getting enough heat to melt the other. 

The Thickness of the Metal

Both brazing and welding work well for metals of different sizes — especially when it comes to thick metals. 

Working with thin metals, on the other hand, brazing is often the best option due to its delicate nature.

The Size of the Assembly

When you are working with large assemblies, you have to have power behind your heat so that you can secure both of them together. The heat needs to radiate through them and that is something that brazing just cannot succeed at. 

Welding works best in this situation. 

The Finished Appearance

When a joint is going to be visible, appearance often matters. So, even if both welding and brazing are suitable for a project, the one that gives the most desired finished appearance is often the go-to option. Between welding and brazing, choose brazing. 

Brazing or Welding? Find Your Metal at Atlas Bronze

At Atlas Bronze, we have the metals you are looking for to meet the needs of your application — from bronze alloys and iron alloys to sintered bars and made-to-order plates and castings, we have just what you need. 

To learn more about aluminum bronze or any other metal your application calls for, contact us at (800) 478-0887.