Study of Matter Compounds  Elmhurst College
Atoms Physical Properties Mixtures  Chemistry Department
Elements Chemical Properties    Virtual ChemBook



Copper has the symbol Cu.

Known since ancient times, from the Latin word "cuprum" meaning the island of "Cyprus".

The discovery of copper dates from prehistoric times. There are reports of copper beads dating back to 9000 BC found in Iraq. Methods for refining copper from its ores were discovered around 5000 BC.

Atomic Number = 29, Atomic Mass = 63.55, 29 protons, 29 electrons, 35 neutrons.

Most common use: wire, and copper pipes.

Physical Properties:

Copper is a shiny, orange colored metal that is medium in weight, strong and easy to shape. It conducts electricity very well and therefore is used in wire.
The density of copper is 8.92 g/mL, which means the metal will sink in water

Chemical Properties:

Its alloys, brass (Cu and Zn) and bronze (Cu and Sn), are very important. Monel and gun metals also contain copper. Apparently the reason that policemen in he USA are nicknamed "cops" or "coppers" is to do with their uniforms which used to have copper buttons. The most important compounds are the oxide and the sulfate, (blue vitriol).

Complex procedures are used initially to change the ore into a form of copper sulfide appropriate for final reduction via a copper(I) oxide. The resulting crude copper is purified using an electrolytic procedure involving plating onto pure copper cathodes.