Application of copper in light industry

Light industrial products are closely related to people’s lives, with a wide variety of varieties. Because steel has good comprehensive properties, it can be seen everywhere. Here are just a few examples:

Air conditioner and freezer

The temperature control of air conditioners and refrigerators is mainly realized by the evaporation and condensation of the beryllium  copper tubes of the heat exchanger. The size and heat transfer performance of the heat exchange heat transfer tube determine to a large extent the efficiency and miniaturization of the entire air conditioner and refrigeration device. The special-shaped copper tubes with high thermal conductivity are used on these machines. Utilizing the good processing performance of steel, recently developed and produced radiator pipes with inner grooves and high fins, which are used in the manufacture of heat exchangers in air conditioners, refrigerators, chemical and waste heat recovery devices, which can enable new heat exchange The total thermal conductivity of the heat exchanger is increased to 2 to 3 times that of ordinary tubes and 1.2 to 1.3 times that of ordinary low-fin tubes. It has been used in China, which can save 40% of copper and reduce the volume of heat exchanger by 1/ 3 or more.


At present, most of the working parts of the clocks, timers and clock mechanism devices produced are made of “clock brass”. The alloy contains 1.5-2% of lead, which has good processing properties and is suitable for mass production. For example, gears are cut out of long extruded brass rods, flat wheels are punched out of strips of corresponding thickness, brass or other copper alloys are used to make engraved clock faces, screws and joints, etc. A large number of cheap watches are made of gunmetal (tin-zinc bronze) or plated with nickel silver (white copper). Some famous big clocks are made of steel and copper alloy. The hour hand of the British “Big Ben” uses a solid gunmetal rod, and the minute hand uses a 14-foot copper tube.

A modern watch factory, using copper alloy as the main material, using presses and precise molds, can produce 10,000 to 30,000 watches per day at a very low cost.


In the current rapidly changing society, paper consumption is huge. The surface of the paper looks simple, but the papermaking process is very complicated. It requires many steps and uses many machines, including coolers, evaporators, beaters, paper machines, and so on. Many of these components, such as various heat exchange tubes, rollers, percussion rods, semi-liquid pumps and wire mesh, are mostly made of steel alloy.

For example, the Fourdrinier paper machine currently in use will spray the prepared pulp onto a fast-moving mesh cloth with fine meshes (40-60 mesh). The mesh cloth is woven from brass and beryllium copper wire. Its width is very large, generally more than 20 feet (6 meters), and it is required to be completely straight. The mesh cloth moves on a series of small brass or copper rollers, and when the paper pulp sprayed on it passes through, moisture is sucked out from below. The net vibrates at the same time to bond the small fibers in the pulp together. The mesh size of a large paper machine is very large, which can reach a width of 26 feet 8 inches (8.1 meters) and a length of 100 feet (3 0.5 meters). Wet pulp not only contains water, but also contains chemicals used in the papermaking process, which is very corrosive. In order to ensure the quality of the paper, the requirements for the mesh material are very strict, not only must have high strength and elasticity, but also must be resistant to pulp corrosion, and copper alloys are fully competent.


In printing, copper plates are used for photo-engraving. The polished copperplate is sensitized with photosensitive emulsion, and then photographed and imaged on it. The exposed copper plate needs to be heated to harden the glue. In order to avoid heat softening, copper often contains a small amount of silver or arsenic to increase the softening temperature. Then, the plate is etched to form a printed surface with uneven dot patterns.

On the automatic typesetting machine, it is necessary to arrange the brass font block to make the pattern, which is another important use of brass in printing. The font block is usually leaded brass, and sometimes copper or bronze is also used.


In the world’s beer brewing, copper plays an important role. Copper is often used as storage for malt barrels and fermentation tanks. In some well-known breweries, there are more than ten such vats with a capacity of more than 20,000 gallons. In the fermentation tank, in order to cool down, steel pipes are often used for cooling with water. Steel pipes are also used to pass water vapor for heating during beer brewing, and steel pipes are used to transport liquor.

When distilling whiskey and other spirits, steel stills are usually used. Whiskey ale is distilled twice, using two copper distillation pots.


In the pharmaceutical industry, all kinds of steaming, boiling, and vacuum devices are made of pure beryllium copper. In medical equipment, zinc cupronickel is widely used.Machining  Copper alloy is also a common material for spectacle frames and so on.

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