As a native of Bisbee,
What is Copper? Copper is a reddish chemical element, that takes on a bright metallic luster and is an extremely ductile metal and is only second to silver as a conductor of electricity and heat. It can never be broken down into different substances by normal chemical means. It is believed that people liked Copper because of its native condition which could be easily beaten into weapons or tools.
As stated earlier, Coppers history may have began as far back as 10,000 years ago. Neolithic humans about 10,000 years ago first used native copper as a substitute for stone. The Egyptians and the Sumerians invented metallurgy, first reducing ores with fire and charcoal about 4000 BC. Copper was intentionally alloyed with tin as bronze about 3500 BC, and this harder metal was so universal in early history that one period is known as the Bronze Age. “Copper is easily worked and is remarkably ductile. It can be cold-rolled down to one-thousandth inch in thickness, and, by cold drawing, its length can be increased as much as 5,000 times. Hence it is an ideal metal for making wire”(Copper) .
The electrical industry is one of
the greatest users of copper. Copper occasionally occurs native, and is found
in many minerals such as cuprite, malachite, azurite, chalcopyrite, and
bornite. (A lot of these minerals can be found in Bisbee). Large copper ore deposits are found in the
Who produces Copper? For many years,
Where Can I find Copper? Half of the worlds deposits are in the form of Chalcopyrite ore. All important copper-bearing ores fall into two main classes: Oxidized ores and Sulfide Ores. Ores are removed by either open-pit or by underground mining, profitably in open pit mining, but underground mining is profitable only if an ore contains 0.7-6% copper ( Grolier: Encyclopedia). Most copper is found in several ores. That means it's mixed in with other metals like lead, zinc, gold, cobalt, bismuth, platinum, and nickel. These ores will usually have only about 4% pure copper in them though. Sometimes miners may only find 2%. The things that make copper such a popular metal are malleability which is how easily it bends. Copper is highly malleable and won't crack when hammered or stamped. Ductility is also a good property and is the ability to be molded or bent into a shape. Copper can be pulled into very thin wire. For example, if you took a copper bar, 4 inches (10 centimeters) square, you could draw it into wire thinner then a human hair. One of the most amazing things about copper is its resistance to corrosion. Copper will not rust. However, when the air grows damp, copper will go from reddish-orange to reddish brown. After being in damp air for long periods of time, a green film will coat the copper, called patina, which will protect it from further corrosion.
What can Copper be used for? Copper is one of the most widely used metals in the world, we use it for a lot of things. Copper gives us water heaters, boilers and cooking utensils. It is used for out door power lines, cables, lamp cords, and house wiring. Electrical machinery like generators, motors, controllers, signaling devices, electro magnets, and communication devices all use copper. Copper is just about everywhere you look even in unexpected areas.
Today Copper is used in many different ways and as well as for it’s historical purposes. According to research, an average single family home uses 439 pounds of Copper:
195 lbs. Building wire
151 lbs. Plumbing
24lbs. Brass goods
12lbs. Built-in Appliances
10 lbs. Misc wire and tube
more than 50 pounds of Copper in an American- built Automobile. The statue of
Personally, I feel as though Copper has played a major role in the world we live in today and there may still be uses for Copper we may not yet have found. What we do know is that Copper has had a major impact in the world we live in and it looks as though it is here to stay.
“Copper” Grolier: Encyclopedia of Knowledge. Volume 5
Bisbee Arizona. Bisbee Queen Mine. 20 Apr.
Copper Facts. Copper Development Association Inc. 2002. 15 Apr.
Albert Huerena.( Personal communication:interview).
April 5th 2005. Has personal experience working in mines