COPPER

Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It 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. It is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys.

Copper is found as a pure metal in nature, and this was the source of the first metal to be used by humans, ca. 8,700 BC; it was the first metal to be smelted from its ore, ca. 5,000 BC; it was the first metal to be cast into a shape in a mold, ca. 4,000 BC; and it was the first metal to be purposefully alloyed with another metal, tin, to create bronze, ca. 3,500.

Numerous copper alloys exist, many with important uses. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Bronze usually refers to copper-tin alloys, but can refer to any alloy of copper such as aluminium bronze. Copper is one of the most important constituents of carat silver and gold alloys, and carat solders are used in the jewelry industry, modifying the color, hardness and melting point of the resulting alloys.

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