The Copper Story received the following question:
"What is the average life time of copper in major/known applications like power cable for transmission, power cable in cars/electrical installations, wire in motors and transformers, copper tube, copper roof?"
In the Copper Flow model, we find the table below about copper's expected lifetime in 16 end-use applications. These lifetimes have been estimated as follows: first, a starting value was extracted or derived from the existing literature; then, these values were cross-checked in a global survey of experts from the copper industry as well as from related organizations .
While there remains some uncertainty on these numbers, especially for applications with very long lifetimes such as architecture or power cables, they represent a best possible estimate to a complex question.
Taking a weighted average over these 16 applications, copper's lifetime in use is 25 years.
|End-use application||Expected lifetime (years)||End-use application||Expected lifetime (years)|
|Plumbing||40||Non electrical industrial||20|
|Building plant||40||Electrical automotive||13|
|Architecture||50||Non electrical automotive||15|
|Electrical power||40||Consumer and general products||13|
 See table S4, page S14 in Supporting Information - A dynamic analysis of global copper flows. Global stocks, postconsumer material flows, recycling indicators & uncertainty evaluation (checked June 2021)
 You can verify the calculation in this article using the attached spreadsheet.
Last update: July 27, 2021