Copper has been in use for thousands of years, and most people have encountered it without even realizing it. The earliest known uses of copper were to disinfect wounds and purify drinking water, both around 5000 B.C., as well as its use in weapons by the mid-5th millennium (5000-4000). Copper is essential for human life. It helps enzymes transfer energy inside our cells and also supports many other bodily functions (our immune system, bones, and muscles).
Copper alloys used in jewellery. Copper is often added to other metals as a way of improving their elasticity, flexibility and hardness—as well as resistance to corrosion.Although gold is most often paired with other metals, such as copper or silver, in jewelry stores you’ll usually find:
- 18K yellow gold
- 18K palladium white gold
- 18K rose gold
- 18k pink gold
- 18K light green gold
- 18K yellow gold is the most widely used type of gold alloy in jewellery manufacturing.
Because it is a hardier alloy than gold, sterling silver makes for better body jewellery as well as belt buckles and cufflinks. One of the hypoallergenic properties of sterling silver is that it contains copper.
Medical uses for copper
Copper is commonly mined around the world. It is used in many different ways, including jewelry, touch surfaces in medicine, and construction materials. The Egyptians documented the antibacterial properties of copper. More recently, Dr. Bill Keevil of the University of Southampton discovered that an antibiotic-resistant strain of staph bacteria—can’t survive on copper surfaces. Now several hospitals across the world are installing touch surfaces made of metal to halt the spread of bacterial infections. Copper use in-home services
Copper is still used in many of the electrical and plumbing systems that you find in your house. It is used for its conductivity, durability, and malleability. Copper is a good conductor of heat and electricity. Because copper is ductile, it can be drawn into wires without breaking. Piping like this works well for residential plumbing jobs because it’s affordable and easy to work with. In industrial machinery, it is used to help facilitate the transfer of heat. Another use is for copper roofing and copper gutters, because of low maintenance and lasts for a long time. Plumbing’s antimicrobial properties and malleability make it a first-choice material for industrial applications.
How copper is mined
Copper is mined in Chile and Peru. Most copper is mined from minerals such as chalcopyrite and bornite. Leaching, smelting, and electrolysis processes purify the copper.Open-pit mining is used when ore deposits are relatively large and occur close to the ground’s surface. Learn more about open-pit mining methods.Because copper ore is often found near the earth’s surface, underground mining is not used as frequently.