EMI & RFI
Copper plating is highly demanded for decorative purposes due to its lustrous copper-pink appearance. With a perceived high-value, luxurious finish - copper is used to plate various items ranging from small products such as kitchen and bathroom accessories, through to large structures such as the interior and exterior of buildings.
To preserve a highly polished finish, clear coatings are often applied to copper plated structures, especially when used outdoors where the surface is subject to varied weather conditions.
In contrast, a weathered effect is sometimes desired to give a unique, rustic appearance. When a coating is not applied, prolonged exposure to air or seawater gives a bright blue-green patina known as 'verdigris'. The effect takes many years to achieve naturally, however it can be accelerated rapidly using a specific process involving hydrochloric acid.
Copper is recognised as an effective, antimicrobial surface; eliminating a wide range of microorganisms rapidly, through a multifaceted attack. Direct contact with copper ruptures many bacteria cells’ outer membrane; then, copper ions are able to enter the cell, overwhelming and obstructing its metabolism – consequently halting the biochemical reactions needed for the bacteria to survive.
Copper’s effect on bacteria is not impacted by the natural tarnishing which occurs as it oxidises, and laboratory testing has found that - provided it is cleaned regularly - antimicrobial copper can kill over 99.9% of MRSA, VRE, Staphylococcus Aureus, Enterobacter Aerogenes, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, and E. Coli O157:H cells within 2 hours of exposure.
An ideal supplement for the reduction of microbial contamination, copper plating naturally lends itself to laboratory and medical equipment – a service CopperTEC happily supplies.
Although traditionally used for electroforming or decorative purposes, copper is an excellent conductor and copper plating can be used for EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference) and RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) shielding purposes.
The deposit from copper plating is very bright and has excellent levelling properties. One typical application for copper plating is for large aerials fitted under railway carriages.
Adding to its importance as a decorative material, copper is low in the reactivity series meaning it has a long life-expectancy against corrosion. This makes it ideal for applications such as jewellery, statues and saucepans.
The main advantage of corrosion resistance however is for its suitability throughout industrial uses such as pipework, electrical cables and radiators.
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