INTRODUCTION

Copper (Cu) is a reddish gold metal with the atomic number twenty nine in the periodic table. Known to mankind since pre-historic times, it is considered useful due to its soft, malleable and ductile nature as compared to more rigid elements like iron. Some of the most important characteristics of copper include electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity and corrosion resistance.

REACTIVITY & PROPERTIES

Some of the properties that make copper very useful in manufacturing electrical equipment include corrosion resistance, good electrical conductivity and good thermal conductivity. As it is also highly ductile, it is easy to shape as needed. Though it is a light-weight metal, it is known to be tough and tenacious. It is also nonmagnetic and non-combustible making it safe for use in electronic goods.

And finally, it is known to be the most recyclable metal on earth. Around forty percent of the demand in the world is met with recycled copper.

PROCUREMENT

Copper is naturally abundant in mineral ores like chalcopyrite and bornite. The process of obtaining it from mineral ores like these includes smelting, leeching and electrolysis. Some of the leading countries producing and recycling copper are Chile, Peru, China and United States of America.

USES

Properties like corrosion resistance, conductivity and antibacterial nature has made copper an important element in the following industrial uses:

Manufacturing electrical equipment: Second only to silver in conductivity, resistant to combustion and corrosion makes copper an apt choice to manufacture wires, cables and circuits.

Alloys: It is one of the most easy-to-alloy metals and is widely used to produce alloys like bronze, brass and cupronickel which are tougher than pure copper.

Antimicrobial applications: It has natural properties that help destroy microbes like bacteria and fungi. This makes copper a primary choice for manufacturing health equipment.

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