How to Buy Copper Sheets

Patina copper roof cladding on Duke of York Barracks, Chelsea.

Copper is among the most commonly used metals. Because of its high ductility and malleability, it is used in commercial, industrial, and other applications. It is also a constituent in several metallic alloys. As one of the best conductors of electricity, and coupled with its pliability, it is perfect for making electrical wires. In its pristine state, it is very soft and can be easily bent with the hand or hammered. Hence, it is a material that is popular among artisans and craftsmen. It is the third most recycled alloy, after aluminum and iron.

Because of these properties, copper is used for many industrial purposes, either in the form of pure copper, in alloys, and in a variety of compounds. It is used as a roofing material since it resist corrosion when exposed to air and water, its alloys used in shipbuilding. Copper sheets are supplied in the form of fine grained poly-crystalline form for industrial and commercial usage. These sheets have various features, and the distinctive quality of these sheets are applied to different purposes.

These features (giving different properties to copper) could be categorized by the alloy used, the temper (or hardness), thickness, and finish.

1. Pure copper itself finds many uses but owing to its softness, it cannot be used for industrial fabrication. Just mixing a small amount of phosphorous will give the resulting metal (or alloy) properties for rolling and welding a copper sheet into tubes and pipes. Adding zinc to copper gives brass, an alloy that is strong, machinable, tough, conductive, and corrosion resistant.

2. Temper means the hardness of the alloy. Although soft copper is required for producing decorative objects by craftsmen, hard copper is required for industry, making parts for machinery and buildings and all. The temper of the copper is chosen based on its intended use. Copper bars are usually supplied in harder tempers, copper sheets in softer tempers.

3. The thickness of copper alloy sheets purchased is also based on the intended purpose.

4. The surface of all copper sheets are given different finishes. Depending on requirements, the finish can be reflective or encrusted with green patina.

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