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General Info
Atomic Symbol Atomic symbol::Cu
Atomic Number Atomic number::29
Atomic Weight Atomic weight::63.546 g/mol
Chemical series Transition metals
Appearance pink when pure, but turns

reddish-brown upon exposure to air

Group, Period, Block 11, 4, d
Electron configuration [Ar] 4s1 3d10
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 1
Electron shell copper.png
CAS number CAS number::7440-50-8
Physical properties
Phase solid
Density Density::8.96 g/ml
Melting point Melting point::1357.77 K
Boiling point Boiling point::2835 K
Isotopes of Copper
iso NA half-life DT DE (MeV) DP
63Cu 69.15% 63Cu is stable with 34 neutrons.
65Cu 30.85% 65Cu is stable with 36 neutrons.
All properties are for STP unless otherwise stated.

Copper is a chemical element known by the chemical symbol Cu. No one knows who discovered it or when it was discovered, but we know that ancient civilizations have used it. The name copper comes from the Latin word cyprium, after the island of Cyprus. The atomic number given to copper is 29. [1]


Physical Properties

When copper is pure, it has a pinkish color. However when exposed to air it has a shiny, orange color. Copper is a medium-weighted element. Being a strong metal that can conduct electricity exceptionally well, copper is used wire. Copper's atomic mass is 63.55. Along with this, copper generally has 29 protons, 29 electrons, and 35 neutrons. [2] Copper has the ability to be an alloy. It can be combined with other elements to form valuable alloys. Some of the other metals that copper is normally combined with would be zinc (to form brass), tin (to form bronze), or nickel. [3]

Chemical Properties

In its elemental form, copper has a density of 8954.32 kg/m3 (559 lb/ ft3) and along with this it has a melting point of 1083°C(1981° F). [4]


A copper ore

Copper can be found in a variety of locations, but it is primarily found in basaltic lava. Along with this, copper can be found and reduced from copper compounds, such as sulfides, arsenides, chlorides, and carbonates. Copper can also occur with other minerals, such as chalcocite, chalcopyrite, bornite, cuprite, malachite, and azurite. Along with all these, copper is also found to be present in the ashes of seaweeds, in many sea corals, and in many mollusks and arthropods. In the human body copper can be found inside of the liver. It is a trace element that helps catalyze hemoglobin formation. The mining and production of copper is primarily in Chile. Thirty five point three percent of all mining production in the entire world is from Chile. Coming in at second would be the United States of America which has only seven point nine percent of the worlds copper mining production. [5]


Copper used as wire


Copper has been used by humans for many years. It is one of the first metals widely used by humans. Copper has helped humans to get out of the stone age. Coins, ornaments, and tools are all items made with copper, which were used throughout history to help humans.

Modern day

Copper is widely used because of its ability to be stretched and molded. Along with this, copper is very efficient in conducting heat and electricity. Copper is used in construction and power generation, along with transmission. Copper wire is also incredibly important in plumbing, heating and cooling systems, and telecommunications such as cell phones. Copper is used as circuitry in silicon chips for the speeding up of microprocessors, along with efficient energy usage. Copper is also a big part of the car industry. Copper can be found in the motors, wiring, radiators, connectors, brakes, and bearings of cars and trucks. In an average car, there is about 1.5 kilometers or .9 miles of copper wiring. [3] Copper is a great conductor of heat, as well as electricity. Because of this many cooking items such as pans for saute and frying are made of copper. While cooking, it is desirable for an even temperature to be throughout the pan. Copper is exceptionally good at this so pans are made of copper. Although the insides of these pans must be coated with tin. Too much copper in the food could be toxic to the consumer. [6]

Importance for the Human Body

Copper is an important metallic element that is needed in the human body. Because human bodies can not synthesize or produce copper on its own, the human diet must supply regular amounts of copper. An adult should have in his or her body between 1.4 and 2.1mg of copper per kilogram of body weight. We need copper in our bodies for our overall well being. In the body, copper is used in a combination with proteins that act as a catalyst in different body functions. Some of which include energy production that is required for biochemical reactions. Others can help in the transformation of melanin, which is important in the pigmentation of our skin. Others help repair and maintain connective tissues. This can be especially important in arteries as well as the heart. Some studies have shown that a deficiency in copper can be one factor in coronary heart disease. Studies have also showed that only about twenty five percent of the United States population get the recommended amount of copper in their diet. Also if the human body has a large excess of copper, it can be toxic. So a controlled amount in the human diet is necessary. [7]


  1. Bentor Yinon. Periodic Table: Copper. Chemical Elements. Web. accessed December 12 2012.
  2. Opheardt, Charles.Copper. Virtual Chembook. Web. accessed December 12 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Uses of Copper. Web. accessed December 11 2012.
  4. Chemical Properties of Copper. Corrosionist. Web. accessed December 11 2012.
  5. Copper (Cu) . Encyclopedia-Britannica. Web. accessed December 11 2012.
  6. Copper - Uses Of Copper. NetIndustries. Web. date accessed December 12 2012.
  7. Copper in Human Health. Copper Development Association. Web. date accessed December 12 2012.