Copper Superalloys

Beryllium copper and nickel-tin copper alloys:
Non-ordinary combinations of strength and conductivity

Copper alloys enjoy excellent properties beyond copper itself

Since the dawn of history, humankind has used a variety of copper-based alloys. Bronze and brass are typical examples. Copper is a metal with high electrical and thermal conductivity, and is highly malleable and ductile. With their many and varied characteristics, modern copper alloys with even more advanced properties have a strong presence in the industrial world.

Wide range of applications for beryllium copper with super strength

Among the copper alloys, beryllium copper alloys, containing about 2% beryllium, are superalloys with high strength equal to that of stainless steel. Generally, both electrical conductivity and strength are contradictory, but at NGK we have upended this common knowledge and realized excellent characteristics balance compared to conventional copper alloys by producing beryllium copper alloys. In addition, they have excellent spring properties, heat-, fatigue- and corrosion-resistance, and formability.

Due to these characteristics, beryllium copper is widely used in electronic products, telecom infrastructure and mobility as highly reliable conductive spring parts. In addition to helping the miniaturization of parts in home appliances and industrial equipment, it is also used as a tough and long-life spring material in various switches and relays for automobiles. Beryllium copper alloys are useful for sensors requiring high performance and reliability in automobile applications that are becoming more and more electrified. Thanks to their high heat resistance, they are also suitable materials for heater thermostats.

Beryllium copper alloys are used as an electromagnetic interference shielding material in 5G base stations. In particular, electric vehicles, whose market is growing with the widespread goal of decarbonizing, are expanding applications in charging connectors. In addition, the durability of beryllium copper alloys makes them useful in aircraft landing gear.

Heat and abrasion resistant nickel-tin copper

Copper-nickel-tin alloys, which have high strength comparable to that of beryllium copper alloys, are also among the copper alloys produced by NGK. Copper-nickel-tin alloys contain 9-21% nickel and 5-6% tin, and are characterized by extremely high heat and wear resistance, in addition to properties comparable to those of beryllium copper alloys. As high heat-resistant spring material, they are useful in automobiles and industrial equipment.

NGK offers various types of high-performance copper alloys

High-performance copper alloys are expected to continue to expand their applications in various fields, focusing on their key function in parts. NGK develops copper alloys of various shapes – strip, plate, rod and wire – which have various characteristics that meet customer requirements.

Beryllium copper and Copper-nickel-tin alloys


Furukori Etsuko

Science and Technology Journalist

Furukori Etsuko graduated from the University of Tokyo with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and liberal arts. While working for a pharmaceutical company, she began writing articles for science magazines and discovered the joy of interviewing researchers and engineers. Since then, she has been writing, researching, planning and editing articles on science, technology and related topics. She is an MIT Science Journalism Fellow and a founding member of Sci-Tech Communications.

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