Copper (Cu) is one of the many elements found in the periodic table, atomic number 29. Its atomic mass is 53.546 amu. This natural metal is reddish brown in color. Copper is classified as a transition metal due to the characteristics of being ductile and malleable as well as its ability to conduct heat and electricity. Copper has played an important role in world history and can still be found today used in a variety of areas. Interesting facts about this metal can be found below.
- The name copper comes from the Latin word cyprium, after the island of Cyprus.
- Copper was first used as early as 8000 BC instead of stone.
- One of the Dead Sea Scrolls is made of copper instead of common animal skin material.
- Paul Revere was one of the first coppersmiths in America. He produced copper and bronze parts for the U.S.S. Constitution, such as the hull sheathing and bronze cannon.
- The original penny was made from 100% copper back in the 1700s. Since 1982, the penny is now made from copper plated zinc, with only 2.5% copper. Other U.S. coins actually contain a high amount of copper. For instance, the nickel contains 75% copper, while the dime, quarter, and half dollar contains over 90% copper.
- Copper changes color over time though oxidation to a green color. However, this happens only when the copper is exposed to the outdoor elements or to acidic conditions.
- The Statue of Liberty contains around 179,000 pounds of copper. The color of this statue comes from the oxidation of the copper skin of the statue to form the trademark green patina.
- Copper can be combined with other metals to create an alloy. When copper is combined with tin or aluminum, bronze is created. When copper is combined with zinc, brass is created.
- Due to the uniform heating capability and high heat transfer of copper, copper pots and kettles are ideal for use in candy making.
- More than 40% of copper is used in the area of building construction. In one average sized single family residence, over 400 pounds of copper is used, from building wire to plumbing tubes and valves as well as hardware.
- Copper can be consumed by people and is one of the many nutrients required for the human body. 0.9mg of copper is the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for an adult. Copper aids in the absorption of iron and helps to maintain the connective tissues and arteries of the heart. It can be found in such foods as beef liver, oysters, and seafood.
Copper can be found used in everything from plumbing and electrical wiring to coins. It can be shaped and molded into art or used as a cooking vessel. Copper is even found to be needed by humans to help promote a healthy body. It is present in the everyday world in big and small quanitites.