Chemistry: Properties of Copper Essay example

Chemistry: Properties of Copper Essay example

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The name copper and the symbol Cu derive from the Latin word “Cuprum”, which by definition means the island of Cyprus. Copper is the 29th element and is located amongst the transition metals in the periodic table. Copper is one of the first elements both known and to be utilized by humans. It is believed that the reason for its early discovery was due to the element being able to naturally occur in its relatively pure form. Archaeological evidence has suggested that it was in fact the Mesopotamians somewhere between 5000 and 6000 years ago, which were able to fully utilize both extracting and making use of the element itself. A copper pendant was found in the Middle East and is dated 8700BC. There are many ways that copper can be used, as seen throughout history.

If there is a task, which cannot be achieved with the pure element copper, it can be made into various alloys such as cupronickel, bronze and brass. Depending on the ratios, different characteristics will be inherited and utilized through the combination of these metals. The named alloys are mainly made up of copper, although the ratios in which the metals are combined can be differed. Copper being a ‘soft’ metal was likely the reason for its choice during early civilisation. This meant that although there may have been a lack in knowledge, tools and technology, humans were still able to shape copper into objects such as weapons, tools, armor, ornaments and cooking apparatuses. Copper is a very interesting metal as it uses electrons from inner orbitals in the process of chemical reactions. As mentioned previously, copper is a relatively ‘soft’ metal; this means it wasn’t the ideal element being used to make tools, armor and/or weapons. This problem was resolved throu...

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...und 98%. This copper, which is close to, if not pure, is attached to a negative charge and becomes a cathode. This causes the impurities and also the slab to eventually dissolve. The metals, which are present on the anode, dissolve throughout the solution. On the anode the metals are oxidized. A certain voltage is applied to the solution, which causes the positively charged copper ions to move onto the cathode to create pure copper.

Properties of Copper
Excellent Thermal and Electrical Conductor
Low Reactivity
Readily Forms Alloys
Good Corrosion Resistance (develops a protective patina over time which provides addition corrosion resistance).
Not Magnetic (diamagnetic)
Melting Point - 1085°C
Boiling Point - 2562°C
Density = 8.96g/cm3 at 20°C.
Colour = Reddish, Brown.
Reasonable Strength and Machinability

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