Often, different materials are used both for welding torches, as well as their components and mostly, copper, brass or copper alloy is used depending on the applications. And, since there are various alloys and variations, it is important to understand what will work well for your specific applications. The most important factors to consider when choosing the material is to consider the electrical conductivity, heat conductivity, yield strength and hardness.
Copper vs Brass
Copper has high heat conductivity and low electrical resistance; however, it is not very hard and softens more quickly at a higher temperature, which causes it to wear more quickly. So, it is recommended that you use copper only for parts with lower ratings.
Copper alloy also has a high heat conductivity, although much lower than copper and also a low electrical resistance. It also has a high hardness factor and is more resistant to wear, especially considering the abrasion caused by the movement of the welding wire. This makes copper alloy very useful for use in contact tips.
Brass, on the other hand, is an all-rounder; however, due to its higher resistance, low heat conductivity and medium hardness, brass is not used a contact tip, but is often used as a contact tip holder.
So, how is brass better than copper alloy? Firstly, brass is much cheaper compared to copper alloy contact tip holders. The brass contact tip holder does not undergo any wear because of the abrasion that the welding wire causes and can also withstand crashes. So, it is a good idea to use a contact tip holder made of brass. However, the brass tip holder makes the contact tip to become hotter due to its lower heat conductivity.
In short, brass is a good material for the contact tip holder as it is much cheaper and can also endure the automatic reamer cleaning better. It is also thermally and electrically better for use as a contact tip holder; however, it is not recommended that brass be used as the material for the contact tip. Copper alloy, on the other hand, is very good for welding and can be used both for the tips, as well as holders. It is better thermally and electrically, leading to lower temperatures, reduced voltage drops and it can also withstand the abrasion caused by the welding wire, resulting in reduced wear and longer life.