A reddish-brown, ductile, metallic element. Copper is present in the earth's crust at a concentration of 70 ppm. It occurs as a native metal and as ores of sulfide, sulfate and carbonate (azurite, malachite, cuprite, chalcocite, antlerite, chalcopyrite, etc.). The major mining producers are: Chile, Peru, China, Australia, United States, Russia, Indonesia, Canada, Poland, Kazakhstan. Copper was the first metal used by man, probably from about 8000 BCE, in the regions of Mesopotamia and India. By about 3800 BCE, copper was made into bronze for weapons and knives. Today, copper is one of the most widely used metals. It is high in electrical and thermal conductivity, easily fabricated, ductile, and polishes well. In moist air, copper forms a protective green film of basic carbonate. Metallic copper combines well with other metals to form alloys. The main types of copper alloys are brass (copper and zinc), low zinc brass, high zinc brass, leaded brass, forging brass, tin brass, bronze (copper and tin), phosphor bronze, silicon bronze, aluminum bronze, nickel silver and Monel®. Copper and its alloys are used for wire, electrical devices, pipes, cooking vessels, ammunition, ornamental trim, roofing, grillwork, coins, musical instruments, jewelry, picture supports, and sculptures.
Synonyms and Related Terms
Cu; aes Cyprium; metal of Cyprus; cuprum (Lat.); Koper (Ned.); cuivre (Fr.); Kupfer (Deut.); rame (It.); cobre (Port., Esp.); Koppar (Sven.); CI 77400; Arwood Copper
Flame color is green-blue. Soluble in oxidizing acids (nitric, sulfuric, etc.). Slightly soluble in hydrochloric acid, ammonium hydroxide. Ductile, malleable. Luster = metallic. Streak = Copper red. Tarnish = black, blue, green
Potassium ferrocyanide may be used for the colorimetric detection of copper in metal, corrosion products, stains, and pigments. It reacts with copper to form a red-brown cupric ferrocyanide. Dithizone is also a useful reagent producing a dark yellow residue.
|Composition||Cu (atomic no. 29)|
|Mohs Hardness||2.5 - 3.0|
|Molecular Weight||atomic wt = 63.546|
Hazards and Safety
Excess handling of copper salts can cause irritation. Food will become toxic when stored in copper containers. Copper dust and fumes cause metal fume fever. Contact and ingestion may cause irritation and illness.
Mallinckrodt Baker: MSDS
° D.A.Scott, Copper and Bronze in Art: Corrosion, Colorants, Conservation, Getty Publications, Los Angeles, 2002. ° J.Waite, "Architectural Metals: Their Deterioration and Stabilization" in Preservation and Conservation: Principles and Practice, S.Timmons (ed.), Preservation Press, Washington DC, 1976, p. 213. ° Mineralogy Database: Copper ° Web Elements: Website° Ancient Trade Routes: Website
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