How to clean copper

Copper and alloys primarily based upon copper are resistant to fouling, as it is toxic to organisms such as algae and seaweed, making them suitable for subsea applications. Therefore, compared with most other types of metal, the level of build-up is relatively modest and it can usually be dislodged and removed by wiping away.

Copper and copper-based alloys provide excellent corrosion resistance due to the existence of a passive film that forms when the component is exposed to oxygen. At first, this gives a light pink appearance. However, over time, this passive film will continue to develop in thickness and composition and take on an increasingly darker shade of green. Removing this patina will require the copper to re-passivate in order to protect the surface from corrosion, and this colour-change process will begin afresh. It is possible to seal or coat the surface of copper to retain the original virgin appearance and colour, but this somewhat goes against one of the main reasons for selecting copper; namely, its inherent corrosion resistance.

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