Copper

Atomic Number:29Atomic Radius:140 pm (Van der Waals)
Atomic Symbol:CuMelting Point:1084.6 °C
Atomic Weight:63.55Boiling Point:2562 °C
Electron Configuration:[Ar]4s13d10Oxidation States:−2, +1, +2, +3, +4 ​(a mildly basic oxide)

History

From the Latin word cuprum, from the island of Cyprus. It is believed that copper has been mined for 5,000 years.

Properties

Copper is reddish and takes on a bright metallic luster. It is malleable, ductile, and a good conductor of heat and electricity (second only to silver in electrical conductivity).

Sources

Copper occasionally occurs natively, and is found in many minerals such as cuprite, malachite, azurite, chalcopyrite, and bornite.

Large copper ore deposits are found in the U.S., Chile, Zambia, Zaire, Peru, and Canada. The most important copper ores are the sulfides, the oxides, and carbonates. From these, copper is obtained by smelting, leaching, and by electrolysis.

Uses

The electrical industry is one of the greatest users of copper. Iron’s alloys — brass and bronze — are very important: all American coins are copper alloys and gun metals also contain copper.

Copper has wide use as an agricultural poison and as an algaecide in water purification. Copper compounds, such as Fehling’s solution, are widely used in analytical chemistry tests for sugar.

Availability

High-purity copper (99.999+ percent) is available commercially.