Wires are some of the most basic components of the modern world, which practically guarantees that most of us take them for granted. But as English Russia so kindly shows us, the process behind our messy heaps of wiring is anything but ordinary.
The photos, taken by E. Golovach, give us a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the often beautiful process of copper wire production. Plus, if you’ve ever wondered how all your dirty, recycled copper bits manage to be turned into something that’s actually useful, herein lies your answer.
We’ve included some of our favourite factory scenes below, but you can head on over to English Russia to check out the full set of fiery photos. [Enineering-RU via English Russia]
It all starts with a rusty heap of scrap metal. Anything containing copper will do…
…because any extra casings burn off when it gets melted down into copper soup.
To get temperatures up to boiling, factory workers inject oxygen under extremely high pressures.
The molten copper (which still contains quite a few impurities) starts flowing into molds.
Apparently, the temperatures were so high that the camera snapping photos was even damaged at this point.
The molds are then dipped in water to cool down to manageable temperatures.
The cooled molds get sent off to shed their impurities in giant electrolysis baths.
And out come these much prettier copper sheets.
To be made into wire, this copper gets sent out to a new shop to be melted down once again.
The pure, molten copper is cooled and shaped into a large snake.
At which point it gets stretched and stretched until it’s thin enough to meet the necessary diameter.