If you’ve been to the Liberty Island in New York Harbor, chances are you’ve gazed upon the Statue of Liberty countless times. This monument is the first thing that will grab your attention not only because it’s the most conspicuous structure on the island, but also because it has a distinct greenish color. It owes this special characteristic to the copper that makes up most of its surface.
Copper isn’t really greenish, but actually reddish in nature. It is one of the two metals (the other one being gold) in the periodic table of elements that don’t have a silvery appearance. The green color only appears as its surface reacts with oxygen in moisture to form a protective layer, called patina. That, however, isn’t the only wonderful thing about copper. There’s more to this metal than meets the eye.
Earliest Recorded Use
Copper is among the first metals discovered and worked by man, mostly because it exists in native state. This means that it can be found in nature and does not require complex processing to produce. Its use dates back over 10,000 years when man was still trying to invent the earliest cutting tools. In fact, an axe with a copper head was found held by Otzi the Iceman who lived over 5,000 years ago.
Today, this metal is being widely used in multiple industries, contributing billions of dollars to global economy each year. It is even manufactured into the most common objects found at home or at the workplace. To have a clear picture of how copper affects people’s lives, and why copper and brass sales continue to rise, it helps to first identify the end-use sectors that benefit from its production.
Copper in Today’s World
Apart from making monuments like the Statue of Liberty, man has found a plethora of other industrial uses for copper. These applications can be categorized into three industry representations.
Electrical. Before copper wires became popular, the first commercially available wires have a silver core. Unfortunately, despite silver’s excellent conductivity, it heats up easily, posing risk of fire on structures. So wire manufacturers turned to copper. Apart from being as conductive as silver, it doesn’t burn like the latter. It is also ductile and malleable, meaning it can be molded into small threads and thin sheets without breaking.
It’s no wonder copper has many electronic applications as well. The small pieces of chips, electromagnets, and connectors found inside televisions, computers, and portable electronic devices most likely have at least a little bit of copper in them.
Construction. While it’s not practical to use copper for making structural components for a building, it is ideal for making interior design elements, such as handles, door knobs, hinges, and faucets. Due to its corrosion resistance and anti-microbial properties, copper is also perfect for making pipes and water tanks. It is, in fact, the main metal used in irrigation and agricultural sprinkler systems, seawater feed lines, and tubes for distribution of natural and liquefied petroleum.
Transportation. A standard car contains 42 lbs of copper, while a hybrid has 75 lbs. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the copper wires inside a standard car spans up to 1.5 km when put end to end. Besides cars, other types of vehicle surely have considerable amounts of copper wound in their systems.
Now that you know how widely used copper is, you may consider investing in this valuable metal soon. Just make sure to go to trusted suppliers like Rotax Metals so that you can get the most value for your money and secure your bottom line. A metal supplier like Rotax Metals, which has served multinational companies across North America, can be your most dependable bet for a business partner.
About Rotax Metals
As the leading supplier of copper, bronze, and brass products in North America, Rotax Metals is committed to providing only the highest quality products. We’ve been in the business since 1948 and we pride on our long-standing track record. Whether you need exquisitely designed bars, sheets, and tubes for your project or custom machines and structures made out of raw metals, we’ve got you covered.
7 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT COPPER, twin-metals.com
Learn About the Common Uses of Copper, thebalance.com