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Copper is a reddish brown nonferrous mineral which has been used for thousands of years by many cultures. The metal is closely related with silver and gold, with many properties being shared among these metals The early use of copper probably resulted from the natural occurrence of copper in native form. The Copper Age followed the Stone Age.
Around 3000 B.C., large deposits of copper ore were found on the Island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea. When the Romans conquered Cyprus, they gave a Latin name aes cyprium to the metal, often shortened to cyprium. Later it the name was changed to cuprum, from which the English word copper and the chemical symbol Cu were derived.
Copper is one of the basic chemical elements. In its nearly pure state, copper is a reddish-orange metal. Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu (Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is rather soft and malleable and a freshly exposed surface has a pinkish or peachy color.
Since 900 B.C., people have been using products derived from Copper and its ore. The demand for copper mainly comes from the electrical and electronics industries. Almost 42% of the share is absorbed by the Electrical & Electronics sector. It is believed that 80% of the copper ever since produced is still in use and continues to be recycled and repeatedly used without losing its property.
In Communication Sector: Copper products are being used for both long and short-range cables, wires, pipes and links. Copper is also widely used in making of PCB (Printed Circuit Board) for computers and electronic equipments
In Electricity & Energy Sector: Copper is a best conductor of electricity and heat. It can be easily transformed to alloy i.e. combined with another metal to make new alloys like bronze and brass. These alloys are stronger, harder, and resistant to corrosion as compared to pure copper.
In Plumbing and Heating: Copper tubes are the standard plumbing material for potable water and heating systems. It is a preferred material of professional plumbers and heating engineers.
In Transport industry – Copper is used extensively in automobiles, trains and trucks. It is also used in heat transfer devices such as radiators, oil coolers as well as in bronze sleeve bearings.
In Coinage: Various countries like European Union, United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand use Copper to make coins
As a fungicide: Copper (II) sulfate is used as a fungicide and for algae control in domestic lakes and ponds. It is used in gardening powders and sprays.