The Copper Tutorial received the following question:
"What is the average lifetime 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 (using the end-use dataset), copper's lifetime in use can be estimated to be around 25 years.
|End-use application||Expected lifetime (years)||End-use application||Expected lifetime (years)|
|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: August 18, 2023