Copper and copper alloys
are some of the most versatile engineering materials available. Since they can be used in an extraordinary range of applications, international copper specifications are well developed and detailed.
Copper specifications in Europe are based on Euronorom (abbreviation: EN), a harmonized system of European countries, which designate copper grades using a six-digit alpha-numerical system. The first letter, “C”, indicates a copper alloy. The second letter indicates the product form i.e. B-Ingot for re-melting to produce cast products, C-Cast products, F-Filler materials for brazing and welding, M-Master Alloys, R-Refined unwrought copper, S-Scrap, W-Wrought products and X-Non-standard materials. Three numbers are then used to identify the material, and the final letter is used to identify the classification of individual copper material groups and to enlarge the capacity of the designation system.
This last letter is important for defining copper specifications because it identifies the principal mandatory property. Each material condition is identified by a letter, as follows: A – Elongation, B – Spring bending limit, D – As drawn, without specified mechanical properties, G – Grain size, H – Hardness (Brinell or Vickers), M – As manufactured, without specified mechanical properties, R – Tensile strength, Y – 0.2% proof strength. For castings, properties are dependent on the casting process used. The suffixes used are: GS sand casting, GM permanent mould casting, GZ centrifugal casting, GC continuous casting, GP pressure die-casting.
Although Euronorom is accepted and effectively used in all European countries, copper specifications from obsolete national systems, such as German DIN, British BS, French AFNOR and Italian UNI, are often found in many documents and specifications and as such remain relevant from a practical perspective.
The most frequently used standard specifications for copper in the United States are those published by ASTM, SAE and ASME. A combined numbering system has been established in the USA in an effort to coordinate all the different designation systems into one system and to avoid the possibility that the same number is used for two different metals. This combined system is the Unified Numbering System (UNS); it is an identification system for commercial alloys and it does not provide direct alloy specifications.
However, specifications for copper and other alloys very often refer to UNS to identify grades specified within the document, or to cross-reference the grades to UNS numbers; this category of alloy equivalents is called “Official” in Total Materia terminology.
Japanese (JIS) copper specifications are based on ISO standards. In these specifications, copper alloys are designated with the optional prefix JIS, followed by a letter C for copper and copper alloys and four digit numbers which refer to the alloying elements. Examples: JIS C1020 which contains Cu 99.9%, JIS C2720 which is a Cu-Zn (brass), JIS C5191 is a Cu-Sn-P (phosphor bronze), JIS C3601 is a Cu-Zn-Pb (lead alloyed brass), JIS C6801 is a Cu-Zn-Al (brass), JIS C 4430 which is a Cu-Zn-Sn brass etc.
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