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The Element Copper


"The Atom"

What is Copper? Origin / Meaning of the name Copper
The word 'copper' originates from the Latin word "Cuprum" (hence the symbol Cu), after the island of Cyprus. Cyprus was the major supplier of copper to the Roman Empire. Copper was associated with Venus, the goddess of love, in Roman mythology.

The Romans believed that Venus rose from the waters of Cyprus looking at herself in a copper mirror. The association between copper and the goddess lead to the belief that copper would attract love and protect against evil. In alchemy, the symbol for copper was also the symbol for the planet Venus. 

The Properties of the Copper Element
Symbol of Element : Cu
Atomic Number : 29
Atomic Mass: 63.546 amu
Melting Point: 1083.0 C - 1356.15 K
Boiling Point: 2567.0 C - 2840.15 K
Number of Protons/Electrons : 29
Number of Neutrons : 35
Crystal Structure: Cubic
Density @ 293 K: 8.96 g/cm3
Color : red / orange / brown

What is Copper? Periodic Table Group and Classification of the Copper Element
Elements can be classified based on their physical states (States of Matter) e.g. gas, solid or liquid. This element is a solid. Copper is classified as a "Transition Metal" which are located in Groups 3 - 12 of the Periodic Table. Elements classified as Transition Metals are generally described as ductile, malleable, and able to conduct electricity and heat. Nearly 75% of all the elements in the Periodic Table are classified as metals which are detailed in the List of Metals.

Facts about the History and the Discovery of the Copper Element
Copper was discovered in Ancient times and used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese. Copper was probably the very first metal mined and crafted by man. It was believed to have been originally discovered in the Middle East. Copper is one of the metals referred to as one of the 'Metals of Antiquity'. The ancient 'Metals of Antiquity' together with their approximate dates of discovery and use are Gold (6000BC), Copper (9000BC), Silver (4000BC), Lead (6400BC), Tin (3000BC), Iron (1500BC) and Mercury (1500BC).

What is Copper? Properties of Copper
A heavy metal of high luster and is an especially good conductor of heat and electricity. Copper is a rather heavy metal of density 8.9, and has a characteristic reddish color. It is rather soft and is very malleable, ductile, and flexible, yet tough and strong; it melts at 1084. As a conductor of heat and electrical energy it is second only to silver. For additional facts and information refer to Copper Properties.

What is Copper? Occurrence of Copper
The element copper has been used for various purposes since the earliest days of history. It is often found in the metallic state in nature, large masses of it occurring pure in the Lake Superior region and in other places to a smaller extent. The most valuable ores are the following:

Cuprite Cu2O.
Chalcocite Cu2S.
Chalcopyrite CuFeS2.
Bornite Cu3FeS3.
Malachite CuCO3Cu(OH)2.
Azurite 2CuCO3Cu(OH)2.

Occurrence of the Copper Element
Copper occurs in nature to some extent in the free state, but is usually found as a sulphide. Copper ore is easy to reduce. Obtained from chalcopyrite, coveline, chalcosine

Abundances of the element in different environments
% in Universe 610-6%
% in Sun 0.00007%
% in Meteorites 0.011%
% in Earth's Crust 0.0068%
% in Oceans 310-7%
% in Humans 0.0001%

Medical Uses of Copper - Health and Treatments
Interesting information is contained in the following list of Medical Uses of Copper, Health and Treatments. Copper is used in its salt forms as an astringent, deodorant and an antifungal.

  • Osteoporosis: Bones to become fragile: Multivitamins that include minerals usually have copper. Copper is also available as an separate oral supplement or as a topical gel or solution

A useful reference providing information regarding the medical uses of Copper, associated health issues and disorders and treatments using Copper preparations. Copper sulfate is used as a parasiticide in aquariums and in the treatment of foot rot in cattle.

Associated Uses of Copper
The Statue of Liberty is made of copper about the thickness of two pennies put together. Its distinctive green color is due to its familiar "patina" green coating which has formed on the surface of the statue due to exposure to the elements. Other uses include:
Copper sulfate
Hammered copper
Tubing, pipes - Plumbing
Medicine and Health Care
Watt's steam engine
Vacuum tubes
Musical instruments
Component of coins

Site Index
Copper Reaction
Transition Metals
List of Metals
Periodic Table
Copper Properties

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