Composition of copper and copper alloys
Multi-element determination – OES
Optical emission spectrometry by radio spectrometer for the simultaneous analysis of all accompanying substances in copper (with the exception of oxygen). With a basic method, the elements Ag, Al, As, Au, B, Be, Bi, C, Cd, Co, Cr, Fe, Mg, Mn, Nb, Ni, P, Pb, Pt, S, Sb, Se, Si, Sn, Te, Ti, Zn, Zr are determined in the copper matrix. For special questions (e.g. complex alloys, high sensitivity or high concentration) we have also developed further copper-specific methods.
Hot gas extraction method – in pure copper, the oxygen content plays a significant role e.g. for processability (welding, soldering), heat treatment and above the threshold value of 400 mg/kg also for electrical conductivity.
Structure of materials and components
Metal samples are usually examined using reflected light microscopy to elucidate microstructures. We operate both a light microscope with up to 1,000x magnification and a stereo microscope with up to 100x magnification. For this purpose, the samples are ground, polished and etched as required.
While microscopy provides a two-dimensional view of surfaces, computer tomography allows the three-dimensional “shining through” of components. Due to the high density of copper, very high energies are required to shine through components. The identification and representation of material defects is possible from about 0.1 mm.
Scanning electron microscopy
Scanning electron microscopy is used for further structural elucidation. This can be combined with EDX (energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy) to determine the local chemical composition (e.g. of individual phases) with high local resolution.
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Strength and hardness:
Determination on copper and copper alloys is carried out with the known testing equipment.
For the determination of the long-term behaviour of wire or strip-shaped samples, we operate a test stand according to the ASTM B470-2 standard. Beyond the standard, we are also able to carry out investigations at elevated temperatures (up to 180 °C) on this device. Investigations according to other methods can be carried out if required.
Copper, as the best technically available conductor material, has a large current-carrying capacity. To check component dimensioning, we are able to test the behaviour of components on current sources with up to 500 A current intensity and 15 kW power in continuous operation.
The laser flash method can be used to determine the thermal properties up to a temperature of 500 °C.
Comparative characterisation of the corrosion behaviour of metals and alloys is possible by recording current density curves. Weak points in alloys can be identified by stationary polarisation and subsequent examination by stereo, light and electron microscopy.
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