There are perhaps 400 or more different copper-based alloys. Copper was one of the very first metals to be exploited by mankind, partly due to the fact that it occurs naturally in a directly useable metallic form. Copper has a range of very useful properties, including high levels of thermal and electrical conductivity, resistance to fouling (growth of organisms on its surface), resistance to corrosion, plus ease of fabrication.
Copper is a relatively easy metal to melt, and a number of elements have good solubility in it, encouraging a wide range of alloying compositions. There are a number of alloy families based upon copper, including Brasses, Bronzes and Gun Metals.