Laboratory Services

The examination of copper differs in many ways from that of classic metallic materials such as steel or aluminum.  DKI has, through years of experience, laboratory know-how.  With our expertise, we will gladly support and guide you through the process of choosing the most appropriate approach and answer any questions you might have along the way. 

A full spectrum of questions come to DKI from all branches of the copper industry.  With every project, non-disclosure and discretion are assured.

Composition of Copper and Copper Alloys

Multiple Element Determination - ICP-OES

(Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectrometry): used for the simultaneous examination of all additional elements in copper (excluding oxygen). The elements Ag, Al, As, Au, B, Be, Bi, C, Cd, Co, Cr, Fe, Mg, Mn, Nb, Ni, P, Pb, Pt, S, Sb, Se, Si, Sn, Te, Ti, Zn, Zr are included in the copper matrix. For specific questions, such as complex alloys, high sensitivity, or high concentration, we have also developed  copper-specific methods of Investigation.

Measurement of Oxygen

High Temperature Method:  In pure copper, the oxygen content plays a significant role in workability such as welding and soldering, heat treatments and electrical conductivity above the 400 mg / kg threshold.

Material and Parts Structure



The microstructures of metal samples are generally determined by reflected-light microscopy.  Available at DKI are a light microscope with up to 1,000 times magnification and a stereo microscope with up to 100 times magnification.  Before examination, samples are ground, polished and etched when necessary.

Scanning Electron Microscopy:

Scanning electron microscopy is used for a more detailed structural analysis.  This, when combined with EDX (energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy), produces a high resolution picture that can determine the chemical composition of the sample, even to the individual phase.

Computed Tomography:

While microscopy gives a two-dimensional look at the sample surface, computed tomography (CT) provides a three-dimensional image.  Due to the high density of copper, a strong x-ray is needed to penetrate the material.  Defects and irregularities can be identified and seen at a depth up to about 0.1 mm.

Mechanical Properties:

Strength and Hardness: 

The strength and hardness of copper and copper alloys can be tested with known testing methods.  Testing of localized samples, such as the microhardness of a joining, can be determined by nanoindentation, often up to the individual phases.

Fatigue Resistance:  

A test according to ASTM B470-2 is made to determine the long-term fatigue resistance of cable or wire samples.  We are able to run these tests at higher temperatures than many facilities, up to 180°C.  Examinations by other methods are also available if needed.

Electrical Properties:


As the best available conductor material, copper has a large capacity for electrical current.  We are able to test the ampacity of components with power sources of up to a 500 A current strength (amerage) and 15 kW in continuous operation.

Thermophysichal Properties:

Thermal Conductivity and Diffusivity:   

The thermal properties of a material can be determined using the Laser-Flash-Method with temperatures up to 500 °C. 

Corrosion Behaviour:

An analysis of a metal's or alloy's corrosion behavior is possible through the detection of current density curves. Weaknesses in alloys can be identified by stationary polarization and subsequent examination by stereo, light and electron microscopy.

Contact us about laboratory testing.

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