Copper (Cu)

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Copper 29Cu63.54

Known to ancient civilizations.

[Latin: cuprum = cyprus]
  French: cuivre
  German: kupfer
  Italian: rame
  Spanish: cobre

Description: Copper is a reddish metal, malleable and ductile, with high electrical conductivity, making it ideal for electrical wiring, probably its most important commercial use. Copper is resistant to air and water, and is used as roofing material for public buildings, where it slowly weathers to an attractive green surface patina of copper carbonate. Historically copper has been important as one of the first worked metals, especially as the alloy bronze. It is still used in coins.

Copper single crystal properties


State: Single crystal
Crystal structure: fcc
Production method: Czochralski
Standard size: diameter 10-60mm
thickness 1-2mm
Orientation: (100), (110) and (111)
Orientation accuracy: <2°, <1°, <0.4° or <0.1°
Polishing: as cut, one or two sides polished
Roughness of surface: <0.03 µm
Purity: 99.999%


Typical analysis (ppm): Ag 0.8
Bi 0.1
Cd < 1
Cr < 1
Fe 0.8
Mg < 1
Pb 0.3
Si < 1
Sb < 1
Zn < 0.1
Cu balance
As, Ca, In, Mn, Ni, Te, Tl, Hg are below the detection limit



Further Materials properties


Crystal structure: (cell dimensions/pm), space group, f.c.c. (a=361.47), Fm3m
X-ray diffractions mass absorption coefficients: CuKa 52.9 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
MoKa 50.9 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
Neutron scattering length: 0.7718 b/10-12 cm
Thermal neutron capture cross-section: 3.78 sa / barns
Density: 8.96 kg/m-3
Melting point: 1083.45 °C / 1356.6 °K
Boiling point: 2566.85 °C / 2840 °K
Molar volume: 7.09 cm3
Thermal conductivity: 401 [300 K] Wm-1K-1
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion: 16.5 x 10-6 K-1
Electrical resistivity: 1.6730 x 10-8 [293 K] Wm
Mass magnetic susceptibility: -1081 x 10-9(s) kg-1m3
Young's modulus: 129.8 GPa
Rigidity modulus: 48.3 GPa
Bulk modulus: 137.8 GPa
Poisson's ratio: 0.343
Radi: Cu2+ 72; Cu+ 96; atomic 128; covalent 117
Electronegativity: 1.90 (Pauling); 1.75 (Allred); 4.48 eV (absolute)
Effective nuclear charge: 4.20 (Slater); 5.84 (Clementi); 8.07 (Froese-Fischer)
Number of Isotopes (incl. nuclear isomers): 18
Isotope mass range: 58 -> 73



Biological data


Biological role: Essential to all species.
Toxic intake: 85g of metal; 20 g of CuSO4
Lethal intake: 60g of CuSO4; LD50 (sulfate, oral, rat) = 300 mg kg-1
Hazards: As little as 30g of CuSO4 has been known to be fatal when eaten.
Level in humans  
Blood: 1.01 mg dm-3
Bone: 1 - 26 ppm
Liver: 30 ppm
Muscle: 10 ppm
Daily dietary intake: 0.50 - 6 mg
Total mass of element in average
[70 kg] person:
72 mg


Geological data


Minerals:Many minerals are known, and aluminium is present in many other minerals
MineralFormulaDensityHardnessCrystal apperance
Atacamite  Cu2Cl(OH)3  3.77  3 - 3.5  orth., adam. vit. green
Azurite  Cu(CO3)2(OH)2  3.773  3.5 - 4  mon., vit. blue (ornamental)
Bornite  Cu5FeS4  5.07  3  tet., met. copper-red brown
Brochantite  Cu4(SO4)(OH)4  3.97  3.5 - 4  mon., vit. green
Chalcanthite  CuSO4.5H2O  2286  2.5  tric., vit. blue
Chalcocite  Cu2S  5.7  2.5 - 3  hex., met. blackish-grey
Chalcopyrite  CuFeS2  4.2  3.5 - 4  tet., met. yellow


Chief ore: chalcopyrite accounts for c. 80% of world's copper (with silver and gold as by-products), chalcanthite, brochantite. Malachite is used for polished slabs, tables and columns.
World production: 6.54 x 106 tonnes/year
Main mining areas: chalcopyrite in USA, Zaire, Zambia, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Russia; malachite in Russia, Zaire, Zambia, Chile, Australia; Chalcanthite in chile.
Reserves: 310 x 106 tonnes
Specimen: available as bars, foil, powder, shot, turning or wire. Safe.


Sun: 1.15 x 104 (relative to H = 1 x 1012)
Earth's crust: 50 ppm
Atlantic surface: 8.0 x 10-5 ppm
Atlantic deep: 12 x 10-5 ppm
Pacific surface: 8.0 x 10-5 ppm
Pacific deep: 28 x 10-5 ppm
Residence time: 3000 years
Classification: recycled
Oxidation state: II

  Source: Emsley, J. (1998) The Elements (3rd Edition)

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Overview of elements with access to our shop

1 18
2 13 14 15 16 17
Li Be B C
Na Mg 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Al Si P S
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo
Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I
Cs Ba La Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi
Ce Pr Nd
Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu

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