Copper is one of the most commonly used metals in the world. It is used in industries, in household products, for making coins, as a conductor of electricity, etc. The symbol of copper in the periodic table is Cu (which is derived from the Latin name Cuprum).
- No one exactly knows who discovered copper or when was it discovered, as it was known to man more than 10,000 years ago.
- The Chalcolithic, or the copper age, was a phase in the 5th millennium BC which was marked as the stage when metals were first used. It was followed by the Bronze age, which showed that the concept of alloying of zinc and copper to make bronze was known in the ancient times.
- Bronze and brass are the two most popular and commonly-used alloys of copper. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, whereas bronze is an alloy of copper with other elements such as tin, aluminum, or beryllium.
- The mummy of Ötzi, the Iceman, who lived 5000 years ago, was found with an ax made of solid copper. It showed that copper was used to make weapons and instruments in those times.
- Copper is located at the 11th group and 4th period in the periodic table.
- Large number of copper ore deposits are located in Africa, North America, and South America.
- Copper is obtained by several processes like smelting, leaching, and electrolysis of the copper sulfides, carbonates, and oxides.
- The world famous Statue of Liberty contains around 2,00,000 pounds of copper.
- Copper is ductile, malleable, corrosion resistant to a great extent, and a good conductor of heat and electricity.
- It is used in electronic product manufacturing, production of machinery and vehicles, wiring, and plumbing. It is used in making brakes, connectors, bearings, etc., making it one of the most commonly used metals today.
- Copper is used for making currency in many countries all around the world.
- An alloy of copper with nickel, known as Monel and cupronickel (copper-nickel), is used in shipbuilding.
- Since its discovery, copper has been used in arms, which continues even today.
Some More Facts
- Symbol - Cu
- Atomic number - 29
- Atomic mass - 63.546 amu
- Number of protons/electrons of copper - 29
- Number of neutrons of copper - 35
- Boiling point - 4652.6 °F
- Melting point - 1981.4 °F
- Oxidation state - +1, +2, +3, +4 (mildly basic)
- Density - 8.96 g/cc
- Classification - Transition Metal
- Color - red/orange
- Crystal structure - Cubic
- State of copper at room temperature - Solid
With the myriad uses of copper known today, we can say that the copper age was a golden age in the history of mankind, and its discovery no lesser than a boon.