Copper is one of the most commonly-used metals in the world. Known for its distinctive color, longevity, and high burning temperature, copper is popularly used to help build fireplaces, kitchens, and more. But how much do you know about this super-versatile chemical element? Here are some fun facts about copper to mull over the next time you’re in the market for some brassy-looking metal!
1. Copper is represented by the symbol Cu.
As mentioned above, copper is a chemical element. It is represented by the symbol Cu and atomic number 29 on the periodic table. You’ll find it in the 11th group alongside a variety of other elements and metals.
2. We’ve been using copper for centuries.
Copper’s been widely used by humans for thousands of years! It was one of the first metals to be used for tools, weapons, and decorative objects in ancient civilizations. Even to this day, you’ll find copper makes up an incredible amount of home decor – and why not, considering it looks fantastic!
3. It’s a great conductor.
Copper is also well-known among the science set for being an excellent conductor of electricity. In fact, it is still essential for electrical wiring, power generation, and transmission, meaning you’ll find it within a variety of inner workings and components. With copper, a lot of things simply wouldn’t switch on!
4. It’s a great heat conductor, too.
Beyond electricity, copper is also great at conducting heat. That is why it is so valuable in various heat exchange applications, such as in radiators and heat sinks. It really is an engineer’s dream!
5. Some of the most popular metallic finishes are actually copper alloys.
Thanks to its reasonably “friendly” nature as an element, copper is commonly alloyed with other metals. This process takes place largely to enhance its properties. For example, bronze is actually an alloy of copper and tin, while brass is a zinc and copper alloy.
6. It has antimicrobial properties.
Copper naturally has antimicrobial properties. This is why it is commonly used in healthcare settings to help reduce the spread of infections. In fact, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was increased interest in the use of copper “keys” to prevent people from having to touch public surfaces!
7. It is very resistant to corrosion.
One of the best things about copper is that it is highly corrosion-resistant. This is what makes it so suitable for outdoor applications, such as roofing, gutters, and outdoor sculptures. Next time you see a copper sculpture or two while out and about, you’ll know it’s not just for the visual effect!
8. Many coins are made of copper.
Many coins across many countries, past and present, are made of copper or copper alloys. This is due to the fact that they are very durable and mostly aesthetically pleasing. It’s also why you’ll still find lots of copper coins in your change to this day.
9. Copper is highly recyclable.
Many people don’t know that copper is highly recyclable! In fact, a significant portion of the world’s copper supply comes from recycling old copper products.
10. It is used in compounds for a variety of purposes.
Alongside alloys, copper is also commonly used in compounds. For example, copper sulfate is used in agriculture as a fungicide and in educational laboratories for experiments.
11. Copper is mined throughout the world.
12. It plays an important role in our biology, too.
Copper is an essential trace element for all living organisms. It plays a vital role in various processes, including enzyme functions and the formation of red blood cells.
FAQs about Copper
How is copper absorbed in the human body?
Copper consumed in one’s diet is absorbed in part by the stomach, then into the duodenum and ileum. It is in the latter parts that most of the copper in your body is absorbed.
What is the biggest use of copper?
Nowadays, copper is primarily used in electronics. It is used for wiring and power transmission.
Why is copper good for your skin?
When used as a cream in cosmetics, copper is believed to have antioxidant properties for your skin. It is also believed to promote collagen and elastic production.
Do you know any interesting facts about Copper? Share them in the comments below!