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Copper

For pennies.

Atomic Number: 29
Atomic Symbol: Cu
Atomic Weight: 63.546
Electron Configuration: [Ar]4s13d10

History

(Latin cuprum , from the island of Cyprus) It is believed that copper has been mined for 5,000 years.

Properties

Copper is reddish and takes on a bright metallic luster. It is malleable, ductile, and a good conductor of heat and electricity (second only to silver in electrical conductivity).

Sources

Copper occasionally occurs native, and is found in many minerals such as cuprite, malachite, azurite, chalcopyrite, and bornite.

Large copper ore deposits are found in the U.S., Chile, Zambia, Zaire, Peru, and Canada. The most important copper ores are the sulfides, the oxides, and carbonates. From these, copper is obtained by smelting, leaching, and by electrolysis.

Uses

The electrical industry is one of the greatest users of copper. Iron's alloys -- brass and bronze -- are very important: all American coins are copper alloys and gun metals also contain copper.

Copper has wide use as an agricultural poison and as an algicide in water purification. Copper compounds, such as Fehling's solution, are widely used in analytical chemistry tests for sugar.

Availability

High-purity copper (99.999+ percent) is available commercially.

Isotopes available at Los Alamos National Laboratory


Sources: CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics and the American Chemical Society.





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