Hard and soft – Firm but flexible
Copper is a unique element. It is a metal with versatile qualities that make it a vital material in modern society. It is one of the oldest metals humans have ever utilised. Copper has such enormous historical significance that some theories suggest that the island of Cyprus was originally named for it.
Copper as a metal
Pure copper is a soft metal that can be turned into a strong and tough alloy. Copper is also flexible, durable, anti-bacterial, and has the ability to conduct heat and electricity very well. In addition to being well-suited to welding and soldering, copper is also fireproof.
Copper’s beautiful color gains a unique patina as it ages – its glowing reddish-brown hues turn first dark brown and then, under suitable circumstances, into a pleasant green. Its aesthetic and vivid surface make copper the favorite of many artists and architects.
Humanity has used copper for over 10,000 years. Along these millennia, we have learned to use its qualities in increasingly versatile ways. Copper and its 400 different alloys are used in various fields like the construction and electronics industries, health care, architecture and art.
Common copper alloys like brass and bronze are used in coolers, heaters, solar panels, tubes, water pipes and roofs, among other applications. Pure copper is most often encountered in electronics. Hospitals and public spaces use copper for its anti-bacterial effects.
Copper is a natural part of earth and all water environments. It is a necessary and even vital trace element required for all functions of living organisms. Copper is both a catalytic element and structural part of many proteins.
If there is not enough copper, environmental diversity suffers. For example, two of the world’s most important foodstuffs – rice and wheat – are quick to react to the lack of copper. So are people, aquatic organisms, domestic animals and cattle.
Improving copper product environmental protection levels as well as taking sustainability into account in the whole supply chain have recently become increasingly important factors, both for consumers and for the industry as a whole. Luckily, copper is a naturally ecological and sustainable material: It is 100% recyclable and keeps its qualities even under particularly challenging conditions.
Because copper’s qualities remain unchanged when melted down, it has become important in the past 25 years due to the potential to make use of this recyclability. A sound production process also helps us respond to the world’s increasing need for copper. By recycling copper, the excellent qualities of precious metal can be reused several times.