What is copper?

Copper is a ductile and soft metal with high electrical and thermal conductivity. It’s a chemical element with the symbol CU and atomic number 29.

The name copper has been derived around the year 1530 from the word cuprum (Latin). Aes Cuprium is how copper was called initially before cuprum.

There are only a few metals that can occur in nature, copper is one such metal which occurs directly as a usable metallic form early use since 8000 BC.

Historically, copper was the first metal used by the people. Usage of copper has been marked from 8000 BC and it has come a long way, check more about the history of copper.

Uses of Copper:

High in Corrosion Resistance

Copper is the good corrosion resistance and so it is used in the pipes, electrical cables, radiators, and saucepans.

Copper is used in various industries for decoration; it is used as a pigment in the construction industry. When copper gets oxidized it forms a green color which is used as a pigment. Copper is used as wood preservatives, fungicides, and bacteriostatic agents. Copper is used in the creation of Jewellery, statues, and buildings as the copper remain attractive for years.

Easy to bent and join.

Copper can be joined easily by brazing or soldering. Copper is used in the pipework and for making sealed copper vessels.

Copper Alloys with other metals easily.

Copper can be combined easily with other metals to make alloys. The first alloy produced was copper melted to form bronze alloyed with tin – those periods in history are called The Bronze Age.

Much later came brass (copper alloyed with zinc), and during the modern age came cupronickel (copper and nickel). These alloys are harder, tougher, and stronger than pure copper. They can be made even harder by hammering the metal.

Ductile

Copper is a ductile metal making it easy to be shaped into pipes and wires. As the Copper pipes have thin walls, they are always lightweight. Copper wires are safe even during fires because they don’t burn.

Recyclable

Copper is best known for its recycling, the recycle of coper does not lose its quality. Around 40% of Europe’s demand is met from recycled copper.

Catalytic

Copper can act as a catalyst that speeds up a chemical reaction and improve its efficiency. This is done by reducing the activation energy. Catalysts that happen in the biological reactions are called enzymes.

Copper increases the reaction between zinc and dilute sulfuric acid. This is what is involved in respiration.

Health benefits

Copper is inherently hygienic which acts against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This property is the key reason why all the hospitals and other hygiene-related areas are made with copper or metal which are alloyed with copper.

Durable

Copper and copper alloys are highly durable, and this is why copper alloys are used the most in this modern world. This means they are perfect to use for tools and weapons.

Non-magnetic

Copper is non-sparking and non-magnetic. Because of this, it is used widely in special tools and military applications.

Physical properties

Copper has one s-orbital electron on top of a filled d-electron shell and is characterized by high ductilit, thermal and electrical conductivity. The filled d-shells in these elements contribute to interatomic interactions, which are dominated by the s-electrons through metallic bonds. Unlike the other metals which have incomplete d-shells, the metallic bonds in copper lack a covalent character and are relatively weak. At the macroscopic scale, the introduction of extended defects to the crystal lattice will stop the flow of material under applied stress, thereby increasing its hardness.

The softness of copper makes it to be a high electrical and thermal conductivity. Copper is the second-highest in the room temperate after silver. This is because the resistivity to electron transport in metals at room temperature will originate primarily from the scattering of electrons on thermal vibrations of the lattice, which are relatively weak in a soft metal. 3.1×106 A/m2 is the maximum permissible current density of copper in open after which it will start to heat excessively.

Pure copper is orange-red and will tarnish when exposed to air.

Galvanic corrosion will occur when copper gets in contact with another metal.

Chemical properties:

Brown-black copper oxidation will be caused when the copper reacts with the atmospheric oxygen, this layer formed will protect the metal from corrosion. Pure copper will get tarnished when it got exposed to atmospheric air, the statue of liberty turned into Green as a result of tarnishing. Copper does not react with water.