Copper Fact Sheet | A Versatile Metal | Metal by the Metre

What is Copper?

Copper is a chemical element, represented by the symbol Cu, and atomic number 29. It is soft, malleable1 and ductilewith very high thermal conductivity3 . It is quite easily recognisable, being dark pink / golden in colour. At room temperature, copper is a solid material. It has a melting point of 1084.62°C, and a boiling point of 2560°C!

Uses of Copper

Copper is quite a versatile metal, and has been used for over 10,000 years. More than 50% of the copper ever extracted from the earth has been done in the last 24 years!! It serves a number of purposes:

  • Copper is used as a conductor of electricity in electric motors, because it is considered to be very efficient 
  • Gold, Silver and Copper are used to make coins! Gold and Silver are a much rarer material and therefore are worth more than Copper. In the United States, all coins are now made of copper alloys. 
  • Copper is actually really important to human health. The Copper mineral is a regulator of the respiratory system, and people need to consume it to maintain a healthy life. Adults are recommended to consumer 1.2 milligrams of copper every day. Some examples of foods containing copper include: Dark chocolate, shellfish, oysters, nuts and greens

Recycling Copper

Much like aluminium, copper can be recycled over and over again, and never lose quality. Copper is the third most recycled metal. Per capita, 35–55 kg of copper is used worldwide! It is cheaper to recycle copper than it is to mine new copper. 

1- Malleable: able to be bent, hammered and bent into shape without breaking or cracking. The shape of it can be easily changed.
2- Ductile: This means the metal is able to be spun out into a thing wire.
3- Thermal Conductivity: the rate which a metal conducts electricity. A high thermal conductivity means the metal can conduct lots of electricity.