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"Looking to purchase powdered metals (Copper) in Los Angeles, CA"

March 12, 2021

Q. / RFQ: Hello Everyone,
Thank you for making a valuable body of information available. I'm a recent graduate in the Los Angeles area and have just started my first real company. I am working on a consulting project and need to purchase some powdered metal, particularly copper, though this may change and or expand down the line. While I know there are a number of suppliers available on the internet, I would prefer to find someone locally (closer to the San Fernando Valley the better.)
I've seen a number of companies online say that powdered copper is not conductive, though my findings tell me otherwise. Perhaps these copper nano-particles some companies are offering would be a better option? The Powder will be used to make a conductive paint, so ideally the products color will be light and shiny rather than drab and brown. Any input on this subject matter would be greatly appreciated, also, if anyone has any other suggestions as far as powdered metals and conductivity as it relates to paint applications, please let me know. I have called a number of metal suppliers in my area, only to be told by many they have never even heard of powdered metals, who would've thought?

Justin Jackson
- Sherman Oaks, California

  ^- Privately respond to this RFQ -^


Ed. note: As usual, gentle readers, technical replies in public but commercial replies in private please (why?)

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Plating Shop Manager [Salisbury, MD]
Junior Quality Engineer [Santa Clara, CA]
Plating Process Engineer [Wenatchee, WA]

March 2021

A. Hi Justin. Good luck with it. I have seen and used bright copper paint, but I don't know if it had some sort of pigment in it to give it that color. I imagine that a latex paint would cause oxidation of the copper particles, but I don't actually know.

A reminder/warning to all readers working with powdered metal: because of its huge surface area, chemical reactions occur much quicker than you might expect, even explosively. Be careful.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 15, 2021

A. Hi Justin,

You could have a look at existing conductive paints and conductive adhesives. Some use copper although silver is generally preferred. It might be much easier and even cheaper to find an existing product rather than trying to create your own from scratch.

Copper by itself is conductive (as long as it doesn't oxidise), but conductive particles in a non-conductive matrix are non-conductive, so I believe it comes down to how much of the conductive component there is present compared to the non-conductive once your paint dries.

If you want powder, look at companies who are in the powder metallurgy, additive manufacturing or polymer additive fields (copper is sometimes added as a antimicrobial filler to polymers).

Jenna Tong
- Melbourne, Australia

March 15, 2021

thumbs up sign Thank you guys for your answers. I am aware of a number of conductive paints available on the market, I'm also aware of the greater conductivity of silver when compared to copper. Many of the conductive paints available are prohibitively expensive for my intended application, moreover there are some benefits to being able to adjust the look of the paint, not being reliant upon the existing paint. Based on my research, there seems to be some options available and it seems like i'm just going to order some of the powder online and give it a shot.

justin jackson [returning]
- Sherman Oaks, California

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