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The Varied Applications and Uses of Copper is Truly Mind-boggling

Uses of Copper
There are many uses of copper such as industrial, construction, electrical and transportation uses. The following article will help you learn all about copper uses.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2018
Copper is a chemical element with atomic number 29. Copper is a ductile metal that is a very good heat and electricity conductor. Pure copper is soft and malleable and has a pinkish color. Copper has been commonly used since the Copper Ages. The Romans used copper that was mined in Cyprus. This led to the origin of the name 'Cyprium', that is, 'metal of Cyprus'.
Properties of Copper
Atomic Number: 29
Atomic Weight: 63.546
Melting Point: 1357.77 K, 1084.62° C, 1984.32° F.
Boiling Point: 2835 K, 2562 °C, 4643 °F
Density: 8.933 grams per cubic centimeter
Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
Oxidation State: +1, +2, +3, +4 (mildly basic)
The compounds of copper are known to exist in several oxidation states. The common oxidation state is 2+, that gives the metal blue to green color.
Industrial Uses
There are many industrial uses of copper, due to its characteristics like high ductility, malleability, thermal conductivity and resistance to corrosion. It ranks third after iron and aluminum in the amount of quantities consumed for industrial purposes. It is alloyed with nickel and used in form of cupronickel and monel for shipbuilding. This is because in this form it is highly resistant to corrosion. The Watt's steam engine firebox is made from copper due to its high heat dissipation. Copper in liquid form is used as a wood preservative. It helps in restoration of original structures that are damaged due to dry rot. It is the main component of coins for many countries. The European Union, United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand use coins containing copper.
Architectural Uses
The main uses are in the construction industry. Copper is a waterproof metal as thus can safely be used in buildings. It is used for plumbing, roofing and cladding. Copper is a light and durable metal that helps build maintenance free structures. It is often used as a roofing material. Lighting rods are made of copper that help divert natural lighting from destroying the building. The current is instead passed to the ground. As copper can be brazed and soldered, it is often used for welding arcs and other structures in a building.
Electrical Uses
About 65% of copper that is produced is used for electrical applications. The important uses include power generation and transmission of electricity. It is used in transformers, motors, bushbars, generators, etc., to provide electricity throughout the country, safely and efficiently. In case of electrical equipment, it is used in wiring and contacts for PC, TV, mobile phones and in various other electric circuitry. Copper is used in microprocessors as well as to transmission of electricity as it is a better conductor than aluminum. The chips used in semiconductor integrated circuits are smaller in size and thus require less energy to pass through them. Copper is also used in heat exchangers and heat sinks as it has a better heat dissipation capacity than aluminum. The cathode ray tubes, vacuum tubes as well as magnetron used in a microwave oven are made of copper.
Everyday Uses
The everyday uses include doorknobs and other fixtures in the house. Copper uses also include frying pans, knives, forks and spoons that contain some copper, if they are made from electroplated Nickel silver. It is also used in copper water heating cylinders, copper bathtubs, copper sinks and copper counters. Copper in form of metal and as a pigmented salt is used to make decorative art like statues and sculptures. Copper is an essential nutrient to all higher plants and animal life. In animals and humans it is present in tissues, liver, muscles and bone. The main function of copper in the body is to act as a co-factor in various enzymes and copper based pigments.
Transportation Uses
The important uses in the transportation industry include building of trams, lorries, cars, trains, etc. High purity copper wire harness system is used to carry the current from the battery throughout the vehicle. The current is carried to the lights, central locking, on-board computers, satellite navigation systems, etc. The electric supper trams made from copper and its alloys helps provide cities with clean and efficient transport system. It is also used in overhead contact wires, that help pass the current throughout the train.
Biological Uses
Since ancient ages, copper is known for its antibacterial effects. Hippocrates suggested use of copper for treating leg ulcers due to varicose veins. Greeks used to sprinkle copper oxide and copper sulfate powder on open wounds to avoid infection. Today, copper bracelets are used to ease joint pains and arthritis. It has anti-microbial properties that helps in providing hygienic surfaces in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Copper deficiency in the human body can lead to gray hair, skin wrinkles, crow's-feet, varicose veins and shaggy skin. You will be surprised to know that copper is often compared to the 'Fountain of Youth'. This is because it helps in improving the elastic fiber in skin, increasing skin flexibility, and even said to help reduce pre-mature grayness of hair. Copper jewelry has been in vogue since many centuries. Copper uses also include medicinal remedy for various ailments like joint pain, arthritis pain, etc.
Electric Bell On Stamp
Old Russian Barometer
Vintage Microscope