Everything You Need To Know About High Conductivity Copper Castings

What Are High Conductivity Copper Castings?

High conductivity copper castings are a unique type of casting, usually made from pure copper or high amounts of copper. These castings are often used for electrical parts and machinery, but have a wide variety of applications. This type of casting is more conductive than any other type of casting, allowing for use in industries that require the transfer of energy or other conductive materials. They can also handle highly acidic materials such as sulfuric acid that would corrode other castings. 

High conductivity copper castings are different from sand castings, which are arguably the more common type of casting. Sand castings have less electrical conductivity than copper thanks to the deoxidation process, and therefore can’t usually be used in instances where the transfer of heat is involved. While the most high quality copper castings like those from Burnstein von Seelen always exceed 98% IACS, sand castings tend to hover around the 80% range. 

How Are High Conductivity Copper Castings Made?

High conductivity castings are made using the Chill Casting Process. This is a process used to create permanent molds. It is referred to as the Chill Casting Process because the mold material acts as a “chill” and allows the casting to solidify quickly. The Chill Casting Process allows the liquid to cascade into every part of the mold, ensuring a perfectly accurate casting. Chilled mold can be made from various materials, but the Chill Casting Process is typically uniform across the board.

During the first step of the Chill Casting Process, the mold is assembled. Next, casters pour hot liquid metal into the mold. Once the casting is solidified, casters can remove the casting from the mold. The solidifying process only takes a few seconds. Because the Chill Casting Process uses permanent molds, the mold can be reused again and again.

What Kinds Of Molds Are Used In High Conductivity Copper Castings?

High conductivity copper castings are typically used with permanent molds, which differentiates them from sand castings. Permanent molds are advantageous because they can be used repeatedly and are therefore less wasteful than other types of molds, which are thrown away after one use. Additionally, permanent molds allow the casting to rapidly chill, allowing for extremely quick completion of parts. Gravity pulls the liquid into each part of the mold, ensuring that the casting is accurate.

Permanent mold tooling initially cost more than sand casting patterns, but the increase in price is a worthwhile investment. Because they’re reusable, permanent molds will cost less in the long run than sand casting molds. Permanent molds are also more consistent and less prone to error.

What Industries Use High Conductivity Copper Castings?

Numerous industries use high conductivity copper castings, especially those that require the transfer of heat, electricity or corrosive materials. Because they are highly conductive (as their name implies), high conductivity copper castings are commonly used when sand castings don’t fit the bill thanks to their low conductivity. Copper is durable, can handle countless materials, and can be altered easily, making it a great choice for many different industries’ needs. 

The following industries may use high conductivity copper castings:

  • Electrical
  • Machinery
  • Energy 
  • Automotive

Are High Conductivity Copper Castings Machinable?

Regardless of their use, nearly all castings need some kind of machining after they’re finished. Machining is the process of removing any unused or unwanted parts from a casting. Because some machining is inevitable, nearly all industries must consider the machinability of their castings before making a decision on which to purchase. 

Most high conductivity copper castings have high machinability, meaning that they can be cut and altered with ease. Each casting is different, but copper is highly machinable across the board. Reputable precision casting companies like Burnstein von Seelen offer in-house machining on castings, making it easy to create exactly the parts you need and maintain your machinery.

What Are The Benefits Of High Conductivity Copper Castings?

Copper is one of the most durable materials on the market, and won’t corrode even when exposed to highly corrosive solutions or materials. Because of their resistance to corrosion, high conductivity copper castings are useful for a wide range of applications, and will last longer than many other types of castings. Copper is also highly alterable, allowing customers flexibility by design.

Aluminum only has ⅓ the conductivity of copper.