Why does Copper Patina? How to prevent Copper from turning green?
October 12, 20233 min read
Copper is a chemical element that appears reddish-gold in color. It is a soft, pliable metal that can be easily combined with other elements to create various alloys. Copper is a great conductor of heat and electricity which makes it the perfect element to be extensively used in manufacturing electrical equipment, industrial machinery, decorative items, cookware, and even roofing materials for centuries now.
Why does Copper Patina?
The Copper Patina is a result of a chemical reaction that occurs when the copper metal is exposed to various elements such as oxygen, water or humidity in the atmosphere. This chemical reaction produces copper oxide. Copper oxide while reacting with the carbon dioxide and water in the air leaves a residue on the Copper surface that turns into a green-blue patina over the course of time.
The Process and Finish of Copper patina at different Stages
The Oxidization/Patina process does not happen overnight but takes place over a period time. During the whole process, the copper material changes it color starting from a Light orange to a brownish red and slowly turning into various shades of bluish-green.
Preventing copper oxidation
The aged copper look or the copper patina is often a desired look but not everyone appreciates it and hence it can be prevented with some extra care and maintenance.
Regularly inspect your copper items for any signs of oxidation or damage. Early detection can help prevent the spread of oxidation and allow you to take appropriate measures to preserve the copper. If you notice any discoloration or greenish spots on the surface, it's important to clean and polish the copper as soon as possible.
Cleaning at proper intervals:
Cleaning is essential to prevent the buildup of dirt, dust, and oils on your copper items. To clean copper, you can use a mild soap or detergent mixed with warm water. Gently scrub the surface with a soft cloth or sponge, being careful not to use abrasive materials that can scratch the copper.
Polishing your copper items regularly can help maintain their shine and prevent oxidation. There are several effective methods for polishing copper, including using commercial copper cleaners, or DIY solutions that include natural remedies with use of lemon juice and salt, or making a paste using flour, salt, and vinegar.
Apply the polish in a slow circular motion using a soft cloth, and then rinse with water and dry thoroughly. Regular cleaning helps to remove the buildup of copper oxide and keeps your copper artifact shiny and lustrous.
Adding Protective coatings:
Applying a protective coating to your copper items acts as a barrier for other elements that can supposedly react with copper. This can provide an additional layer of defense against oxidation. There are various types of protective coatings available in the market that includes lacquers and waxes that are specifically designed for copper.
Before applying any coating, ensure that the copper surface is clean and dry. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully, and apply an even layer of the coating using a brush or cloth. Allow the coating to dry completely before using or storing the copper item. It is also recommended to apply such coatings at regular intervals.
While copper is a beautiful metal with distinctive finish which gives it an elevated look, it will patina over the course of time. Some love the look of raw copper whereas some relish the various hues of green that the patina offers. Raw or weathered? You can always put a hold to the patina process once the copper has reached your desired finish by preventing copper from oxidation. It requires a combination of proper cleaning, storage, and protective measures. By following these methods, you can ensure that your copper items retain their natural shine and beauty for many years to come.
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