The rarest precious metals are gold and silver. The next in line is copper.
Copper is known as “Red Gold”. This valuable metal is well-known for its amazing properties that make it so important for people. It is believed that an average person uses close to 1800 pounds of copper during their lifetime. Close to 1 trillion pounds of copper has been mined since it was discovered.
A critical resource
Copper has many uses, right from housing, transportation, and electrical goods to consumer goods. Not just these, it is essential for plants, animals, and humans too. However, excess copper is toxic and really harmful to the human body.
This is a soft metal, reddish orange in color. It has a bright, metallic luster. It is malleable and ductile. Its sterling quality is its excellent conductivity of heat and electricity. In fact, only silver can conduct electricity better than copper.
When copper is exposed to the air, it slowly acquires a dull, brown color. The moisture in the air can corrode copper till it forms carbonate verdigris. This is often seen on the roofs of buildings and statues.
On the back of its electricity conduction property, copper is the most used metal in electrical equipment, for example in motors and wiring. It is also used in plumbing equipment and cooking utensils. It is used in roofing and guttering. Copper Sulfate is a fungicide and algicide, and is often used in lakes, ponds, and rivers.
Copper is also used in the medical field. This is because it has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. It also sees ample use in sustainable energy solutions, such as wind turbines and solar panels.
It is a very durable metal and has energy saving properties too, which makes it the perfect metal of choice for certified sustainable buildings. Since this versatile metal can be 100% recycled, it is a “green” metal. Its usage helps reduce the carbon footprint to a great extent.
Two very important alloys of copper, bronze and brass, are used massively in commercial industries. Bronze is made when zinc is added to copper. And brass is made when tin is mixed with copper. Both of these are used extensively in several industrial applications.
Copper is usually converted into wires, cables, and rods.Copper Strip also sees use in several fields. Most manufacturers make copper products according to the exact specifications of the client. There are some set industry standards and most manufacturers adhere to these.
Copper can be recycled from post-consumer equipment, and in fact, half of recycled copper comes from this. Some examples of this equipment are discarded electric cables, worn plumbing pipes, scrap pieces, etc.
Copper and its alloys have been recycled for thousands of years. It was common practice in the Middle Ages to melt bronze cannons after the warsto make other useful stuff.
Since copper is quite a valuable metal with a high resale value, most people take care to avoid wasting it.