The coming copper crunch

Sandy Munro agrees but I think he puts the date further back than two decades. This resistance to change is precisely why innovators can and do displace once successful legacy companies.

The Captain


You had a flow problem around that rudder post? As the piece you quoted said, cavitation is caused by low pressure. That was always an issue when i was working at the pump seal company. If the pressure at the suction end was below the vapor pressure of the fluid, the fluid would vaporize. The resulting bubbles would damage the pump, as well as deprive the seal of lubrication.


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The aluminum industry is inventing more and more electically suitable alloys. There are 81xx and 8xxx alloys out today that did not exist decades ago specifically to improve conduction, electrical properties and improve ductility.

Many bus bar systems are aluminum today instead of copper since they are not subject to some of the mechanical stresses that wiring often is required to do.

Increasing the voltage in electrical systems is the single greatest risk and benefit from a materials and safety perspective.

like water pressure, as the voltage goes up, so do the safety measures and design considerations.

I’ve seen dead shorts in 12v high amperage applications without a breaker or fuse. Watching those dead shorts at 600v is 1000x worse. (in spite of being “only” 50x higher in voltage)

As with most things, our ability to recycle the material to move it to more recent applications will benefit us all. Circular materials management has come a long way. It must accelerate.

Side note: more than 75% of aluminum is still in circulation. That figure would be much higher if people would stop throwing away aluminum cans.


Where it entered the water. At that point there is a large bending moment on the post and who knows how complicated the water flow is.

The Captain

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Could just stop minting pennies (2.5% copper) and producing ammunition for the general public. The latter might solve a couple of other social problems.

In 2014, the Mint produced 8.15 billion one-cent coins. That’s 22,450 tons of pennies, which equates to 21,888 tons of zinc and 562 tons of copper. The same year, 651 tons of copper was used to make “consumer products”-- including appliances, ammunition, electronics, utensils and coins. That means 86 percent of the copper destined for consumer products was used just for pennies. (Those 651 tons don’t include copper used for non-consumer goods, like airplanes, building hardware, and more.) For zinc, the percentage is smaller—2 percent of the 1.1 million tons of refined zinc consumed in 2014—but still enough to be statistically significant.


During WWII, pennies were stamped from “shell case brass” one year, and made of steel another year. 'course we old phartz remember when pennies were stamped from solid copper sheets, not copper plated zinc.

We could simply discontinue pennies, like those “COMMIE” countries did, but I’m sure at least 30m voting age people will be fed conspiracy theories about it and riot.



A small amount of copper and not a large return “What they think is very valuable turns out not to be very valuable at all,” Strang said. The value? “It’s about $10,” she said…

Since March, crooks have hit eight of the 13 charging stations Seattle City Light has around its service area…

Meanwhile, Strang says City Light is also planning a pilot program to create curbside EV stations that are essentially just a pole and a hose that drops down. “We will have 30 of those that we are installing throughout the service territory,” said Strang.


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Reminds me of a headline in a Venezuelan newspaper many, many decades ago.

Telephone communication established between Point A and Point B.

Inside the paper…

Thieves steal copper wire between Point A and Point B.

The Captain