Breaking Down The Copper Nickel Alloy
For thousands of years, man has been traversing the huge expanse of seas and oceans all around the globe to tap its natural resources and to get from one land mass to another. From the earliest dug-out canoes of ancient fishermen, to the large trading galleys of the early seafaring traders and merchants, these vessels were primarily made of wood because of the material’s buoyancy and abundance during that time.
As man moved on to the modern ages, advances have also been made in marine engineering, watercrafts made from a myriad of materials began to surface, from fiberglass, to processed wood and metal. But people soon discovered that although one of the toughest materials available, some metals broke down quickly when exposed to saltwater for an extended period of time. This led to new research looking for the most appropriate kind of metal to use in marine engineering, hence the birth of the copper-nickel alloys.
Copper Nickel Alloy: A Closer Look At Copper
As its name implies, copper-nickel alloys are chiefly made up of two metals, copper and nickel. Copper is a metal that has superb resistance against corrosion by seawater, which is why it has been used in marine engineering since the time of wooden warships.
Copper has also been found to have high antifouling properties, which means that it can resist the colonization of marine organisms such as marine bacteria, microalgae, and macro algae, allowing watercraft with copper based parts to last longer out at sea without maintenance.
Copper Nickel Alloy: A Closer Look At Nickel
The most common combination ratio for copper nickel alloy used in marine engineering is 90% copper and 10% nickel, or 70% copper and 30% nickel.
Nickel has a complimentary effect when combined with a greater amount of copper, because as an alloy, these two metals have increased total strength and overall durability, as well as greater resistance to colonizing organisms found in the marine environment. Nickel also bolsters the strength of the copper when exposed to high temperatures, giving way to various useful applications for the metal alloy.