Copper is a soft metal possessing high thermal and electrical conductivity. This makes it an excellent choice for many applications in the electrical and electronic industries. It also is one of the easier metals to photo-chemically machine or etch. While the most common industrial application of etched Copper is the foil in printed circuit boards (PCBs), acid etching of Copper has limitless applications. Like other metals, its properties can be enhanced for specific applications by creating an alloy with another metal. For example, adding Beryllium increases physical strength.
- Copper is second only to Silver for electrical and thermal conductivity
- As a material to accept various fabrication methods, copper is highly durable. It can be easily formed, stamped, bent, and of course, chemically etched
- While Copper does oxidize, its corrosion-resistance can be easily enhanced with plating or coating. This can be an important issue in high-frequency applications where “skin-effect” issues must be considered
- Copper is very ductile, meaning it can be drawn or “stretched,” which make it an excellent choice for wire, tubing and other applications where very long lengths are required.
- Because copper is very malleable, it is an excellent material to be flattened into sheets of almost any desired thickness.
- Accepts soldering without special preparation or materials
Applications of Etched Copper:
Almost anywhere that there is an electrical circuit path on a printed circuit board, within an electrical component, such as a connector or as a transitional device between circuit boards. Examples:
- Electrical contacts, pins, terminals, and connectors
- Formed metal enclosures for hybrid electronic circuits
- EMI/RFI shielding on printed circuit boards
- UHF/microwave antennas and waveguides
- Lead frames
- Inserts for injection molding
- Fuse links and buss bars
- Board-level EMI/RFI shields
- Shielded enclosures with snap-on lids
- Copper is an abundant metal, but prices have historically varied with significant market fluctuations.
- Bare Copper may cause an electrochemical reaction when in contact with some other metals.