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Metals, metallurgy, conductivity and heat transfer...this one is smelled better.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by will33, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. will33


    May 22, 2006
    As it relates to the stuff that makes up the stuff we play with everyday.

    Why is it if you pinch a roach between a couple pennies everything works out fine? Nickels, Quarters, Dimes....not so much.

    It's no secret pennies haven't been all copper for quite a while. I remember my 4th or 5th grade teacher (80-82...ish?) explaining to us that they were no longer making pennies out of full-on copper but rather mostly zinc with a copper, or " copper looking " plating. I don't know why I remember that so much but I do and always will. Thank you Mr. Johnson, you're awesome and always will be.

    Anyway, back on topic, what is it about these metals that makes them good electricity workers? Wire, voice voils, pickups, and about anything that has to do with carrying juice from one place to the next, or more specifically, why they work out so well?

    Some dude figured it was worthwhile to sit down and wind this $#!+ somewhere between a few hundred and a dozen thousand or more times around, or inside of, a magnet, figuring it would do something and he was right?


    Did they try Nickel, Brass, Forged Steel like they make Japanese swords out of, regular Iron, etc., or did the math precede it, or did it come together with it?

    8Metallurgy is an acient art. I realize some of this is rudimentary stuff to some of you but have you ever thought about the first peoole messing with this and how that lead to the things we make music with today?

    Hell, before that, you actually had to figure out the tones of things created by nature and how to make them sound beautifull...carving a piece of wood into just the right thickness and resonance and shape and grain to make a certain sound. Then these other guys come a along and do what amounts to alchemy or voodoo compared to how people were used to it before and makes all this radical sound. Could this be why some people weren't fond of rock-n-roll?

    So, if I was to re-invent the wheel, why is it that I should use copper, or maybe aluminum for my voice coil? What would happen if I ised varnoshed nickel?...or brass?....or iron?....or some $#!+ I put together you've never heard of?
  2. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Copied and pasted from tomsthumb...


    Basically conductivity. Some mumbo jumbo about inductance and electrical fields. Electrical current running through the coil will produce a magnetic field. Better conductors work out to better fields. Or something. Stick a magnet in there and it gets even stronger.

    Aside from silver, which oxidizes really quickly, and gold, which is hella expensive, copper is the best you can really get.


    I remeber going into Tom Thumb's store as a kid. A real dime store....lost treasure there.
  3. gustobassman

    gustobassman I'm only here for the after party.. Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2011
    Sandy Eggo
    Wow.. whatever you're pinching between those pennies...:bag:

    This is deep!
  4. Something happening in Texas the National Guard should be warned about? :D
  5. will33


    May 22, 2006
    OK folks. Thanks much for participating. This editing on the phone $#!+ sucks. I guess just pick one and run with it.


  6. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Nah. They get a little timid when they're outmanned and outgunned.:D
  7. Copper has great conductivity ( carries elctrons without impedance ) and also ductility ( ability to be drawn into a wire ), readily mined, somewhat resistant to corrosion, case closed for copper.
  8. will33


    May 22, 2006
  9. Tha Alamo's cannon?
  10. I'm curious about how useful metglas and mu-metal would be in pick-up or string construction. They have ultra high magnetic permeability.
  11. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Copper is negatively charged, so it's a better conductor than most other metals.

    Aluminum conducts heat better than most metals, so it cools faster. It's not as good of a conductor as copper, but that can be overcome by using a heavier gauge.

    Both are the less expensive options and when/if you think about the miles of wire that's used in, well, everything, it's amazing that we haven't run out.
  12. Andyman001

    Andyman001 moderation must be taken with a grain of salt

    Feb 11, 2010
    S/E Idaho
    Oh, and they stopped making pennies out of solid copper because it costs more than a penny to make one. :D
  13. I always think about the first person to do things too. Like, who was the first on to eat an oyster? That is not an appetizing looking critter. Or who was the first person to smoke? That just seems like a bad idea. How about being the first person to try mushrooms or new plants? Some of those will kill you right quick!
  14. Yeah ... or how about coffee? Let's see, I think I'll harvest these berries, remove the seeds, roast them, grind them up, pour hot water over them and drink it. Who thought that up?

    Anyway, back to the OP, I think the answer is a combination of electrical conductivity, ductility (meaning it's easy to draw the metal into a wire), and of course, price. The first guys to experiment with electricity probably figured it out by trial and error / luck. Since then a lot of research has been done, but it's hard to improve on the price / performance ratio of good old copper.
  15. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    They have tried different coil materials in speakers. It was more about heat dissipation and weight reduction.

    For pickups, it is about how the magnet, the resistance, and the inductance react in the circuit. What are you going to gain with an exotic material like silver. People have rethought the process and done some work using LED's to detect the string vibration. A small laser can be used to detect string vibration. Direct to digital. Piezo crystal pickups have been around for a while.

    Somehow people keep coming back to what was invented so many years ago. I know what I like, and I like what I know...genesis.
  16. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Some of this is what I was trying to get at. Could've written it more humorously from a desk but oh well.

    We can't do what we do without copper coils but this stuff is seemingly unchanged for a long time now. Did they just arrive at copper and aluminum and say," well, that's it, works good, seems to be plenty of it around" and stop looking?

    And ues, this stuff is in everything. It is amazing we haven't run out. I sometimes wonder the same about concrete.

    And yes, back then, it took about 1-1/2 cents worth of copper to make a 1 cent coin, so they switched to a cheaper metal.
  17. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    This post is certified 4:20 friendly.
  18. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Yeah, humans are funny creatures. Rule lf thumb is to watch what the animals eat and don't eat to stay away from poisons and stuff, but then somebody bit into a cactus and started to trip, so they went looking for more cactus.

    Alcohol's been around since biblical times, but somebody back there figured "I'm gonna let this stuff rot and drink it...see what happens".

    We are curious creatures.
  19. benevan


    May 2, 2002

    The cost of copper has been steadily rising over the past few years while the cost of aluminum has remained relatively flat. It is expected that demand for copper will exceed supply within the next few years, so it will be interesting to see what happens to copper pricing and availability when that happens...
  20. will33


    May 22, 2006
    It's happening already. More than a few people have gotten themselves killed trying to steal copper from electrical substations because of it's value. They figured it worth the risk and they lost.

    Scrap metal yards around here started making people produce their business license to recycle things like air conditioner coils, again because of the value. Too many people were stealing them off the side of your house.

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