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The alloying elements added to copper dissolve in the copper matrix or, when needed, form new phases in the copper lattice, enhancing the mechanical properties of copper. For example, elements like chromium, zirconium, and beryllium allow copper alloys to be additionally hardened through precipitation. By using precipitation hardening, or aging, the conductivity and mechanical properties of copper can be elevated.
Hard copper alloys are alloys developed using this hardening mechanism, and they find a wide range of applications.