Copper is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a reddish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.
|Element category||Transition Metal|
|Phase at STP||Solid|
|Ultimate Tensile Strength||210 MPa|
|Yield Strength||33 MPa|
|Young’s Modulus of Elasticity||120 GPa|
|Brinell Hardness||250 MPa|
|Vickers Hardness||350 MPa|
|Melting Point||1084.62 °C|
|Boiling Point||2562 °C|
|Thermal Conductivity||401 W/mK|
|Thermal Expansion Coefficient||16.5 µm/mK|
|Specific Heat||0.38 J/g K|
|Heat of Fusion||13.05 kJ/mol|
|Heat of Vaporization||300.3 kJ/mol|
|Electrical resistivity [nanoOhm meter]||16.8|
|Magnetic Susceptibility||−5.46e-6 cm^3/mol|
Applications of Copper
Historically, alloying copper with another metal, for example tin to make bronze, was first practiced about 4000 years after the discovery of copper smelting, and about 2000 years after “natural bronze” had come into general use. An ancient civilization is defined to be in the Bronze Age either by producing bronze by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin, arsenic, or other metals. The major applications of copper are electrical wire (60%), roofing and plumbing (20%), and industrial machinery (15%). Copper is used mostly as a pure metal, but when greater hardness is required, it is put into such alloys as brass and bronze (5% of total use). Copper and copper-based alloys including brasses (Cu-Zn) and bronzes (Cu-Sn) are widely used in different industrial and societal applications. Some of the common uses for brass alloys include costume jewelry, locks, hinges, gears, bearings, ammunition casings, automotive radiators, musical instruments, electronic packaging, and coins. Bronze, or bronze-like alloys and mixtures, were used for coins over a longer period. is still widely used today for springs, bearings, bushings, automobile transmission pilot bearings, and similar fittings, and is particularly common in the bearings of small electric motors. Brass and bronze are common engineering materials in modern architecture and primarily used for roofing and facade cladding due to their visual appearance.
Production and Price of Copper
Raw materials prices change daily. They are primarily driven by supply, demand and energy prices. In 2019, prices of pure Copper were at around 27 $/kg.
Most copper is mined or extracted as copper sulfides from large open pit mines in porphyry copper deposits that contain 0.4 to 1.0% copper. Sites include Chuquicamata, in Chile, Bingham Canyon Mine, in Utah, United States, and El Chino Mine, in New Mexico, United States. Copper is one of the most widely recycled of all metals; approximately one-third of all copper consumed worldwide is recycled. Recycled copper and its alloys can be remelted and used directly or further reprocessed to refined copper without losing any of the metal’s chemical or physical properties.
Mechanical Properties of Copper
Strength of Copper
In mechanics of materials, the strength of a material is its ability to withstand an applied load without failure or plastic deformation. Strength of materials basically considers the relationship between the external loads applied to a material and the resulting deformation or change in material dimensions. In designing structures and machines, it is important to consider these factors, in order that the material selected will have adequate strength to resist applied loads or forces and retain its original shape. Strength of a material is its ability to withstand this applied load without failure or plastic deformation.
For tensile stress, the capacity of a material or structure to withstand loads tending to elongate is known as ultimate tensile strength (UTS). Yield strength or yield stress is the material property defined as the stress at which a material begins to deform plastically whereas yield point is the point where nonlinear (elastic + plastic) deformation begins.
See also: Strength of Materials
Ultimate Tensile Strength of Copper
Ultimate tensile strength of Copper is 210 MPa.
Yield Strength of Copper
Yield strength of Copper is 33 MPa.
Modulus of Elasticity of Copper
The Young’s modulus of elasticity of Copper is 120 GPa.
Hardness of Copper
In materials science, hardness is the ability to withstand surface indentation (localized plastic deformation) and scratching. Brinell hardness test is one of indentation hardness tests, that has been developed for hardness testing. In Brinell tests, a hard, spherical indenter is forced under a specific load into the surface of the metal to be tested.
Brinell hardness of Copper is approximately 250 MPa.
The Vickers hardness test method was developed by Robert L. Smith and George E. Sandland at Vickers Ltd as an alternative to the Brinell method to measure the hardness of materials. The Vickers hardness test method can be also used as a microhardness test method, which is mostly used for small parts, thin sections, or case depth work.
Vickers hardness of Copper is approximately 350 MPa.
Scratch hardness is the measure of how resistant a sample is to permanent plastic deformation due to friction from a sharp object. The most common scale for this qualitative test is Mohs scale, which is used in mineralogy. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is based on the ability of one natural sample of mineral to scratch another mineral visibly.
Copper is has a hardness of approximately 3.
See also: Hardness of Materials
Copper – Crystal Structure
A possible crystal structure of Copper is face-centered cubic structure.
In metals, and in many other solids, the atoms are arranged in regular arrays called crystals. A crystal lattice is a repeating pattern of mathematical points that extends throughout space. The forces of chemical bonding causes this repetition. It is this repeated pattern which control properties like strength, ductility, density, conductivity (property of conducting or transmitting heat, electricity, etc.), and shape. There are 14 general types of such patterns known as Bravais lattices.
See also: Crystal Structure of Materials
Thermal Properties of Copper
Copper – Melting Point and Boiling Point
Melting point of Copper is 1084.62°C.
Boiling point of Copper is 2562°C.
Note that, these points are associated with the standard atmospheric pressure.
Copper – Thermal Conductivity
Thermal conductivity of Copper is 401 W/(m·K).
The heat transfer characteristics of a solid material are measured by a property called the thermal conductivity, k (or λ), measured in W/m.K. It is a measure of a substance’s ability to transfer heat through a material by conduction. Note that Fourier’s law applies for all matter, regardless of its state (solid, liquid, or gas), therefore, it is also defined for liquids and gases.
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion of Copper
Linear thermal expansion coefficient of Copper is 16.5 µm/(m·K)
Thermal expansion is generally the tendency of matter to change its dimensions in response to a change in temperature. It is usually expressed as a fractional change in length or volume per unit temperature change.
Copper – Specific Heat, Latent Heat of Fusion, Latent Heat of Vaporization
Specific heat of Copper is 0.38 J/g K.
Heat capacity is an extensive property of matter, meaning it is proportional to the size of the system. Heat capacity C has the unit of energy per degree or energy per kelvin. When expressing the same phenomenon as an intensive property, the heat capacity is divided by the amount of substance, mass, or volume, thus the quantity is independent of the size or extent of the sample.
Latent Heat of Fusion of Copper is 13.05 kJ/mol.
Latent Heat of Vaporization of Copper is 300.3 kJ/mol.
Latent heat is the amount of heat added to or removed from a substance to produce a change in phase. This energy breaks down the intermolecular attractive forces, and also must provide the energy necessary to expand the gas (the pΔV work). When latent heat is added, no temperature change occurs. The enthalpy of vaporization is a function of the pressure at which that transformation takes place.
Copper – Electrical Resistivity – Magnetic Susceptibility
Electrical property refers to the response of a material to an applied electric field. One of the principal characteristics of materials is their ability (or lack of ability) to conduct electrical current. Indeed, materials are classified by this property, that is, they are divided into conductors, semiconductors, and nonconductors.
See also: Electrical Properties
Magnetic property refers to the response of a material to an applied magnetic field. The macroscopic magnetic properties of a material are a consequence of interactions between an external magnetic field and the magnetic dipole moments of the constituent atoms. Different materials react to the application of magnetic field differently.
See also: Magnetic Properties
Electrical Resistivity of Copper
Electrical resistivity of Copper is 16.8 nΩ⋅m.
Electrical conductivity and its converse, electrical resistivity, is a fundamental property of a material that quantifies how Copper conducts the flow of electric current. Electrical conductivity or specific conductance is the reciprocal of electrical resistivity.
Magnetic Susceptibility of Copper
Magnetic susceptibility of Copper is −5.46e-6 cm^3/mol.
In electromagnetism, magnetic susceptibility is the measure of the magnetization of a substance. Magnetic susceptibility is a dimensionless proportionality factor that indicates the degree of magnetization of Copper in response to an applied magnetic field.
Application and prices of other elements