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Copper and its Applications

What is copper?
Copper (Latin name cuprum, symbol Cu ), considered to be men's oldest metal, is a chemical reddish colored element, having atomic number 29. It plays a vital role as it contains important trace nutrient required by all human beings, plants and animals. Highly known as a ductile and malleable metal, copper is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity (second only to silver) and vastly used for water piping, electrical wiring and corrosion-resistant parts. It is either used in pure natural form or in alloys mixed with metals like bronze, brass etc. Apart from its use as an essential nutrient, copper has a prominent aspect in metal decorative art. Copper has a pleasing color and luster having a high polish, and it forms alloys readily with almost all metals.

Copper application

Copper is extensively used in various applications because of copper's inherent properties like it is malleable and ductile, a good conductor of heat and a good conductor of electricity when very pure. The various applications of copper are as follows:
  • Electronics and electrical products: Most of the copper produced in the world is used in electrical products like in the making of copper wire, electromagnets, printed circuit boards, electrical machines (motors, generators, transformers), electrical switches etc.
  • Metal Products: Copper is used in the making of metal products like tubing, pipe, hardware, plumbing fixtures and machine tool products. Copper is combined with other metals to form more than 1000 different alloys. Important alloys in which copper is the chief constituent are bronzes (tin and copper), brasses (zinc and copper) and nickel silvers (zinc, copper and nickel).
  • Household Products: Copper is used in making doorknobs and other fixtures in houses, in making decorative items, kitchenwares and cookwares, copper bath tubs, copper sinks, copper heating cylinders etc.
  • Coinage: Copper is used in nearly all coinage. Coins in countries like European Union (Euro), United States, United Kingdom (sterling), New Zealand, Australia contain copper.
  • Architecture: Copper metals have been used in architecture for thousands of years. Since ancient times, copper is used as water-proof roofing material and used in buildings and houses. Many ancient world known statues like the “Statue of Liberty” contains 81.3 tonnes of copper. Copper alloyed with nickel, for example, cupronickel and Monel, is used as a corrosive resistant material in making of ships. Copper compounds are used as wood preservatives.

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