Related topics: atoms · graphene

Researchers discover new and harmful copper-protein complexes

Copper is important for many processes in our body. It supports the production of red blood cells, metabolism, and the formation of connective tissue and bones, among other things. Copper is also known to play a role in diseases ...

Mesoamerican copper smelting technology aided colonial weaponry

When Spanish invaders arrived in the Americas, they were generally able to subjugate the local peoples thanks, in part, to their superior weaponry and technology. But archeological evidence indicates that, in at least one ...

Copper boosts pig growth, and now we know why

Pigs have better feed conversion rates with copper in their diets, but until now, scientists didn't fully understand why. Existing research from the University of Illinois shows copper doesn't change fat and energy absorption ...

Bone analyses tell about kitchen utensils in the Middle Ages

Clay pots? Wooden spoons? Copper pots? Silver forks? What materials has man used for making kitchen utensils throughout history? A new study now sheds light on the use of kitchen utensils made of copper.

Coordination chemistry and Alzheimer's disease

It has become evident recently that the interactions between copper and amyloid-β neurotoxically impact the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease. KAIST researchers have reported a new strategy to alter the neurotoxicity ...

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Copper

Copper (pronounced /ˈkɒpər/) is a chemical element with the symbol Cu (Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is rather soft and malleable and a freshly-exposed surface has a pinkish or peachy color. It is used as a thermal conductor, an electrical conductor, a building material, and a constituent of various metal alloys.

Copper metal and alloys have been used for thousands of years. In the Roman era, copper was principally mined on Cyprus, hence the origin of the name of the metal as Cyprium, "metal of Cyprus", later shortened to Cuprum. There may be insufficient reserves to sustain current high rates of copper consumption. Some countries, such as Chile and the United States, still have sizable reserves of the metal which are extracted through large open pit mines.

Copper compounds are known in several oxidation states, usually 2+, where they often impart blue or green colors to natural minerals such as turquoise and have been used historically widely as pigments. Copper as both metal and pigmented salt, has a significant presence in decorative art. Copper 2+ ions are soluble in water, where they function at low concentration as bacteriostatic substances and fungicides. For this reason, copper metal can be used as an anti-germ surface that can add to the anti-bacterial and antimicrobial features of buildings such as hospitals. In sufficient amounts, copper salts can be poisonous to higher organisms as well. However, despite universal toxicity at high concentrations, the 2+ copper ion at lower concentrations is an essential trace nutrient to all higher plant and animal life. In animals, including humans, it is found widely in tissues, with concentration in liver, muscle, and bone. It functions as a co-factor in various enzymes and in copper-based pigments.

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