Tellurium is usually added to copper to improve machinability ("free cutting"). ASTM specification B301 has 0.5% tellurium; at concentrations of up to 0.75% machinability is improved whilst electrical conductivity and hot working behavior is maintained. Mechanical properties are similar to tough pitch copper, whilst machinability is similar to brass - the alloy's hardnesses are increased by precipitation of copper telluride[disambiguation needed].
Tellurium copper can be used as the electrode in electrical discharge machining (EDM) - the alloy is used to replace copper when grinding wheel loading occurs during fine finishing of the electrode - the alloy retains the properties of copper in the EDM process.
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