In the intricate world of copper alloys, designation systems act as the key to unlocking their chemical compositions. Unlike specifications, these systems facilitate the identification of the elemental makeup of these versatile materials. While property requirements find their place within standards like EN, ASTM, and various government and military guidelines, the spotlight here is on the alloy designation system prevalent in the UK and across Europe.

This system employs a clever 6-character alpha-numeric code, offering insights into the very essence of each alloy. The journey begins with the first letter, a resounding “C” that signifies the foundation of these materials—Copper itself. But the revelation doesn’t stop there. The second letter assumes the role of an indicator, revealing the alloy’s intended form and purpose. Let’s delve into the alphabet of possibilities:

  • B = Ingot for Re-Melting: These alloys lay the groundwork, serving as ingots destined for re-melting to ultimately shape cast products.
  • C = Cast Products: When the end goal is a cast creation, this designation points the way. Casting processes transform these alloys into a range of products.
  • F = Filler Materials: The “F” heralds the realm of filler materials, essential components for brazing and welding endeavors.
  • M = Master Alloys: Mater alloys step in as the masters of alloy manipulation, offering precise control over alloying elements for tailored properties.
  • R = Refined Unwrought Copper: Refined, pure, and untouched by extensive processing, these copper forms carry their natural essence.
  • S = Scrap: Recycling finds its place under “S,” where scrap materials embark on a sustainable journey of repurposing.
  • W = Wrought Products: For applications requiring shaping and forming, wrought products step in, ready to be molded into diverse forms.
  • X = Non-Standard Materials: Innovation thrives under “X,” signifying non-standard materials that push the boundaries of convention.

Yet, the intrigue continues with a 3-digit number, an enigmatic code spanning from 001 to 999. These digits are strategically grouped, paving the way for a deeper understanding of the alloy’s intricacies. And then, there’s the final flourish—an additional letter that reveals the alloy grouping. This designation journey is a language of its own, unraveling the hidden facets of copper alloys and their boundless potential.

Number SeriesLettersMaterials
001-099A or BCopper
100-199C or DCopper Alloys, Min. 95% Cu
200-299E or FCopper Alloys, <95% Cu
300-349GCopper- Aluminium Alloys
350-399HCopper Nickel Alloys
400-449JCopper-Nickel-Zinc Alloys
450-499KCopper- Tin Alloys
500-599L or MCopper Zinc Alloys Binary
600-699N or PCopper Zinc Lead Alloys
700-799R or SCopper Zinc Alloys Complex

UNS designations

Copper Alloys Designation method is an expansion upon the system developed by the US Copper and Brass Industry using Five digits Preceded by letter C

UNS NumbersTypesAlloys Names
C10000-C19999WroughtCoppers, High Copper Alloys
C50000-C59999WroughtPhosphor Bronzes
C60600-C64200WroughtAluminium Bronzes
C64700-C66100WroughtSilicon Bronzes
C70000-C79999WroughtCopper Nickels, Nickel Silvers
C80000-C82800CastCoppers, High Copper Alloys
C86100-C86800CastManganese Bronzes
C87200-C87900CastSilicon Bronzes and Brasses
C90200-C94800CastTin Bronzes
C95200-C95800CastAluminium Bronzes
C96200-C97800CastCopper Nickels, Nickel Silvers
C98200-C98800CastLeaded Copper
C99300-C99750CastSpecial Alloys

In essence, copper designations go beyond mere labels. They serve as a compass, guiding experts to comprehend the essence, purpose, and capabilities of each alloy. It’s a symphony of letters and numbers that harmoniously resonate with the endless innovation that defines the world of copper alloys

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