The Difference Between Copper

In our lives, copper products are everywhere, with brass, white copper, red copper, bronze, etc., and many types. So, what is the difference between so many coppers? How should we distinguish them?

Pure copper

Pure copper is called red copper, also known as copper. It has good plasticity, excellent electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity, and can be applied to both hot and cold pressing processes. It is widely used in cables, wires, and electric corrosion-resistant copper. The high purity red copper has fine structure, low oxygen content, no trachoma, pores and excellent electrical conductivity. It is very suitable for electroetching molds. After heat treatment, the electrodes have no directionality, which is very suitable for fine and fine hitting.


The alloy consisting of copper and zinc is called brass. If the constituent elements are only copper and zinc, then this is just the most common brass. Such brass is commonly used in the manufacture of water pipes, valves, air conditioning inside and outside machine connecting pipes and radiators.

If the brass consists of more than two elements, including lead, tin, manganese, nickel, iron, silicon, etc., it is called special brass. This special brass has high hardness, high strength and strong chemical resistance.

Brass has strong wear resistance, and the seamless copper tube made of it has soft texture and strong wear resistance. This special brass is widely used in condensers, cryogenic piping, subsea transportation pipes, heat exchangers and other components. Its copper content is only 62~68%.

White copper

If the copper alloy uses nickel as the main additive element, then we call it white copper. The white copper is divided into ordinary white copper of copper-nickel binary alloy and complex white copper with increased iron, zinc, aluminum and manganese. In the industry, white copper is divided into electrical white copper and structural white copper. Among them, the structural white copper is characterized by excellent mechanical properties, good corrosion resistance and beautiful color. Such white copper is widely used, such as precision machinery, chemical machinery, and glasses accessories. The electrical white copper has good thermoelectric performance. Among them, constantan and manganese copper are commonly used materials for manufacturing varistor, precision resistors and precision electrical instruments.


Bronze has been used for more than 3,000 years in China, and it is the earliest alloy used in China. The original meaning of bronze refers to copper-tin alloy. Later, for the convenience of management, all copper alloys except white copper and brass were collectively called bronze. And add the name of the main added element in front to distinguish different kinds of bronze. Tin bronze with tin as the main additive element has excellent casting properties, good mechanical properties and excellent friction reducing properties, making it ideal for the manufacture of turbines, gears and bearings. Lead bronze is used as a bearing material for current engines and grinding machines. Aluminum bronze has excellent wear resistance, corrosion resistance and high strength, and is widely used in the manufacture of high-load bushings, gears, marine propellers, and the like. Phosphor bronze has good electrical conductivity and high elastic limit, and is very suitable for manufacturing precision springs and electrical contact elements.

So what copper is the ancient copper coin?

In ancient times, the materials of different dynasty copper coins were also different. Bronze, brass, white copper, and red copper were used to cast copper coins. Ancient Chinese copper coins were cast from copper alloys, because different alloys have different composition components, so copper coins will also have different colors. In general, yellow copper coins are cast from copper-zinc alloy, and cyan copper coins are cast from copper-tin alloy. In the first half of the Ming Dynasty, the materials used for casting copper coins were generally bronze, while in the second half, brass was used.

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