SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Honeywell International Inc. said Thursday that its electronic materials division will more than double its refining and casting capacity for high-purity copper and tin at one of its plants to meet rising demand from the semiconductor industry.

Demand for high-purity copper for advanced chip designs continues to increase, the Morristown, N.J., industrial conglomerate said. Growth has also come as memory chip manufacturers move to copper from aluminum. The use of copper and tin for chip packaging applications is also on the rise, Honeywell said.

The expansion at Honeywell's Spokane, Wash., facility is expected to be completed by the middle of next year, the company said.

Semiconductor makers are turning to copper for use in integrated circuits because it provides lower resistance than aluminum, which has been widely used in the industry. Lower resistance results in faster chip speeds, which in turn boost a device's performance.

Copper is also becoming more popular for use in chip packaging applications because of increases in gold prices, which has been the industry standard for these applications. At the same time, tin is being increasingly used as a lead alternative for chip packaging applications for customers complying with regulations against lead-based materials, the company said.

In afternoon trading, Honeywell shares rose 81 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $46.22.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.