One of the most important metals, copper has an atomic number of 29 and symbol ???Cu???. Although it??™s discoverer is unknown, it is known that its date of discovery goes back to the ancient times. Israel, Egypt and Jordan were some of the earliest locations of copper smelting sites, dating back to about 4500 B.C. It??™s earliest estimates are around 9000 B.C. in the Middle East. In India, artisans created copper alloy products such as icons and lamps.
Copper is usually created in volcanic areas. Although copper is found worldwide, over 90 percent of it is located in four different areas. They are the Great Basin of the western United States, Zambia, central Canada, Peru, and Chile. Antarctica also has deposits of copper in lots of places, but a temporary ban on mining was established in 1991 to last for 50 years to preserve the land. The most familiar forms of copper are pure copper, brasses and bronze. Found in nature, mostly in ???impure mineral??? form, copper can be produced by smelting, leaching, or by a biochemical process that uses ???thiobacillus ferrooxidans???.
One historical use for copper was the copper tubing in Ancient Egypt. It looked like it was constructed like the plumbing pipes we use today. It was found in the tombs and temples of rulers. A lot of this tubing remains in great condition more than five thousand years after its first use, which is an amazing fact. This is because the copper is not as susceptible to corrosion like other metals are, which is why it is still used today for pipes. Unlike plastic, copper does not give off fumes or burn. It also has antibacterial properties that can fend off microorganisms like the ones that cause Legionnaires disease.
Copper has a metallic redish orange color. Copper is often found in nature in compounds that form minerals such as ???Malachite-CuCO(3) or Cu(OH)2???. Copper is also ductile. That means it can be drawn out into a thin wire. A bar of copper that is four inches thick can be heated up, rolled, and then drawn into a round wire that is thinner than a strand of human hair. If done properly, this wire would be twenty million times longer than the original bar. Because it has these properties, copper is very valuable to industries. The only element that can conduct electricity better than copper is silver, but silver is much more expensive and it would be considered a waste to use it for this. Copper is also an excellent conductor of heat. This makes it useful in cooking, refrigerators, and many types of radiators. Another feature in copper that attracts industry use is that fact that it is resistant to corrosion. This means it will never rust. If the air around copper is damp for a long time, it will go from reddish-orange to a reddish-brown type of color. A good example of this is a penny that has been wet or in a damp atmosphere for a long amount of time. The density of copper is 8.50 g/ml and has a melting point of 1984.32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another reason that copper is very popular in industry use is because it is a natural antibacterial, and so it helps limit the spread of bacteria in water and air distribution systems made from it. It is also commonly used the make brass doorknobs, handrails and finger plates in public buildings can help to minimize the risk of bacterial transfer.
Copper can be found in many kinds of food, in drinking water and in air. Because of that, we absorb large quantities of copper each day by eating, drinking and breathing. The absorption of copper is necessary, because copper is essential for human health. Even though humans can consume a large amount of copper, too much copper can still cause health problems. Copper is made available from a variety of foods like whole grain, liver, molasses, and nuts, but water from copper pipes will also carry copper in it, and copper cooking utensils will also add more copper to be consumed. Copper does not break down in the environment and because of that, it can accumulate in plants and animals when it is found in soils. In soils with lots of copper, only a limited number of plants have a chance of survival. That is why there is not much plant diversity near factories that dispose copper. Due to the effects upon plants, copper is a serious threat to the productions of farmlands. Copper can seriously influence the production of certain farmlands, depending upon the soil and the organic matter. When the soils of farmland are polluted with copper, animals will absorb some of it. Copper is damaging to their health. Mainly, sheep suffer a great deal from copper poisoning. Too much copper in water can also damage marine life. The effect of these higher concentrations on fish and other creatures is damage to the gills, liver, kidneys, and the even the nervous system. It can also interfere with the sense of smell in fish, which can prevent them from choosing good mates or finding their way to mating areas.
Copper is also one hundred percent recyclable. It is considered a “renewable” resource because it can be recycled without any loss of quality (chemical or physical properties). In some cases, recycled copper can be remelted and used without further processing. Recycling is dependent on the quality of scrap collection systems, economic factors, product design, societal values, and government regulations.
The only reason I chose to write about copper was because it sounds like my name. Before I read about copper, I thought the only real use for it was to make pennies. But after researching things like the history, uses, and physical and chemical properties of copper, I realize that it is extremely important in many aspects of everyday life. Things like plumbing, electricity, hot water, refrigeration, and many other common appliances are all luxuries that I will never under-appreciate again. And the next time I walk out of a dirty bathroom, I will be thankful to find that the door handle is made of copper.