Tellurium copper is a superior alloy in all applications where products are drilled, turned or machined in some way. Efficiency on both manual and automatic product lines can be several times higher than that of traditional pure copper, which is a very ductile metal.
The cutting properties of copper can be improved significantly by creating an alloy with half a percent of tellurium. This produces only a slight alteration in the electrical and thermal conductivity and ductility of the free machining copper. Copper telluride precipitations in the microstructure break up the turnings into chips and enable a much higher machining speed than is possible with pure copper. On a machinability rating scale with 100 being for free cutting brass and 20 for copper, tellurium copper is rated at 90.