Oxygen-free High Conductivity Copper Properties
All high-conductivity Coppers contain a certain level of Oxygen resulting from the Copper refining process. However, certain applications require Copper with the highest purity and lowest Oxygen levels; this is called Oxygen-free High Conductivity Copper (OFHC).
OFHC Copper is produced by the direct conversation of selected refined cathodes and castings under carefully controlled conditions to prevent contamination of the pure Oxygen-free metal during processing. During the process, the Copper is melted and poured in the presence of Carbon or carbonaceous gases so the Oxygen can be absorbed. This high purity and absence of deoxidizers account for its high conductivity. The method of producing OFHC Copper ensures extra-high grade of metal with a Copper content of 99.99%. With so small content of external elements, the inherent properties of elemental copper are enhanced to a high degree.
Oxygen-free Copper products perform extremely well during hot and cold forming, whilst also boasting excellent corrosion resistance. This is seen particularly with its resistance to atmospheric and water influences. They also are excellent for soldering brazing.
Oxygen-free High Conductivity Copper Applications
An early application for OFHC was in in the magnetron, which was invented in the 1920s. The high conductivity, high purity and low volatility under high vacuum make it ideal for this use, because it is not subject to outgassing (release of trapped gas such as Oxygen). It is quite a significant application, as it was the magnetron that led to the development of radar and its use in planes, ships and submarines in the 1940s.