Chemistry - Copper
Copper is a soft, ductile, and malleable metal.
Copper has very high thermal and electrical conductivity.
The symbol of copper is ‘Cu’ and atomic number is ’29.’
Copper is known to people since (about) c. 8000 BC.
Copper is the first metal, which was smelted from its ore around c. 5000 BC.
Salient Features of Copper
Copper was the first metal that cast into a shape (in a mold).
Copper was the first metal that successful alloyed with another metal, e.g. copper alloyed with tin and resultantly bronze is prepared. It is done about c. 3500 BC.
First metal to be purposefully alloyed with another metal, tin, to create bronze, c. 3500 BC.
Copper has a natural reddish-orange color; it is visible once the its surface is exposed.
Copper is a very good conductor of electricity and heat.
Copper is an element of group 11 of the periodic table.
Copper normally does not react with water; however, it does react slowly with atmospheric oxygen and form a layer of brown-black copper oxide.
The brown-black copper oxide usually protects the underlying metal from further corrosion just like passivation.
Passivation is a process of use of a light coat of a protective material, such as metal oxide, which is used to create a protective shell against the corrosion.
Occurrence of Copper
Copper is commonly found in the earth’s crust.
In 1857, the largest mass of elemental copper (weighing about 420 tones) discovered. It was found on the Keweenaw Peninsula located in Michigan, US.
Alloys of Copper
The metal alloys, which have the copper as their major constituent, is known as copper alloys.
Copper alloys are highly resistant to corrosion.
The best (traditional) example of copper alloy is bronze (made by mixing tin and brass).
Following are the major alloys of copper −
Electrum, Green gold
Rose, red, and pink gold
Compounds of Copper
Following are the major compounds of the copper −
Cupric acetate - Cu(CH3COO)2
Copper(I) oxide - Cu2O
Copper(II) oxide - CuO
Copper(II) chloride - CuCl2
Dicopper chloride trihydroxide - Cu2(OH)3Cl
Copper(I) chloride - CuCl
Copper(II) nitrate - Cu(NO3)2
Copper Cyanide - CuCN
Uses of Copper
Copper is largely used in making electric wires.
Copper is used in electric motors.
Copper is used in roofing, plumbing, and in many other industries.
Copper paint is used in painting boats and many other materials.
Many of the home appliances are made up of either pure copper or its alloys.