Copper EDM

In its elemental form, copper is soft, shiny and highly malleable. Due to its soft nature, it is most often used as an alloy and is one of the most electrically conductive of all the metal elements. Copper is one of a few metallic elements with a natural color other than gray or silver. Pure copper is orange-red and acquires a reddish tarnish when exposed to air. Copper has extremely good electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity and corrosion resistance. Copper is also used in buildings, usually for roofing, and oxidizes to form a green verdigris (or patina).

Physical Properties of Copper EDM

The physical copper properties that make this element unique include the following:

  • Toughness - Copper may not be strong, but it is not easy to break due to its high toughness. This property comes in handy for piping and tube applications, where a rupture can be dangerous and expensive.
  • Strength - Copper is a weak metal with a tensile strength about half that of mild carbon steel. This explains why copper is easily formed by hand but is not a good choice for structural applications.
  • Conductivity - Second only to silver, copper is not only an excellent conductor of electricity but also of heat. As a result, copper serves well in applications such as cookware, where it quickly draws heat to the food inside.
  • Ductility - Copper is very ductile and very malleable. The electrical and jewelry industries benefit from the ductility of copper.

Alloys of Copper EDM 

Unique copper properties make it a great alloy when combined with other elements. Some of the copper EDM alloys that can be utilized, include:

  • Bronze – Bronze contains 88-95% Cu by weight. Used in coins, cymbals, and artwork.
  • Brass – This alloy contains around 50-90% Cu and is made into everything from ammunition cartridges to doorknobs.
  • Aluminum Bronze – Containing 74-95% copper, aluminum bronze has a higher corrosion resistance than regular bronze and is extremely useful in marine applications.
  • Nickel Silver – This alloy contains around 60% Cu by weight. It does not contain actual silver but has a similar appearance as silver and is often made in jewelry and musical instruments.
  • Cupronickel – Containing 55-90% copper, it is used in coins, marine applications and musical instrument strings.
  • Beryllium Copper – This copper alloy is composed of 97-99.5% Cu. Since this copper alloy does not spark it is often utilized within dangerous gas environments.

Copper EDM Advantages

Custom copper parts contain numerous beneficial qualities compared to other types of metal. Copper EDM contains the following advantages.

Electrical Conductivity

Copper has the best electrical conductivity of any metal besides silver. Copper’s high electrical conductivity coupled with its low electrical resistance allow for it to be used in home and underground cable applications. Some of the other applications that benefit from copper’s good electrical conductivity, include:

  • Electromagnets
  • Dynamos
  • Motors
  • Transformers
  • And more

Thermal Conductivity 

Copper properties make it an extremely good conductor of heat, again the only other element that is better at conducting heat is silver. Copper is used in many heating applications because it doesn't corrode and has a high melting point. The only other material that has similar resistance to corrosion is stainless steel. However, its thermal conductivity is 30 times worse than that of copper. Since copper allows heat to pass through it quickly, it is used in many applications where quick heat transfer is important. These include:

  • Heat exchangers
  • Car radiators
  • Saucepans
  • Computers
  • Disk drives
  • TVs
  • Heat sinks

Corrosion Resistance

Copper EDM is low in the reactivity series. This means that it doesn't tend to corrode, which means that it is highly useful for applications that require corrosion resistance, such as decorative products. Some of the corrosion resistant products that are created from copper, include:

  • Electrical cables
  • Jewelry
  • Electrical cables
  • Pipes
  • Radiators
  • And more


Copper is inherently antimicrobial, meaning it will rapidly kill bacteria, viruses and fungi that settle on its surface. Products and surfaces that are manufactured from copper and copper alloys are often installed in hospitals and other areas where hygiene is a key concern.

Copper Machining Advantages

Copper machining can be accomplished through advanced wire machining service capabilities. Copper machining is a smooth, easy process due to copper’s advanced heat conduction capabilities and easy malleability. Copper also has high corrosion resistance properties to rust, making copper machined parts popular for electrical applications.

Copper Machining Applications

Machined copper is suitable for engineering applications because of its corrosion resistant and thermal conductivity properties. Some engineering applications for machined copper parts include:

  • Hydraulic tubing
  • Valves
  • Radiators
  • Heat exchangers
  • Cooling systems
  • And more

Contact American Wire EDM for Advanced Copper EDM Machining Today

Contact us for more information regarding copper properties and advanced copper EDM processes, or request a quote today.