How Copper is Used

padlock
Brass lock and key. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.

Copper was the first metal to be used by humans. It was probably used by 'Neolithic man' to make tools as early as 7000 BC (9000 years ago). Copper weapons have been found dating from about 5000 BC. Because of its beautiful colour, copper was also used to make jewellery and ornaments.

roll of copper wire
Reel of copper wire

Today, because it is such a good conductor of electricity, copper is mostly used in electrical generators and motors, for electrical wiring, and in electronic goods, such as radio and TV sets. Copper also conducts heat well, so it is used in motor vehicle radiators, air-conditioners and home heating systems.

chips
Computer circuit boards containing copper

Because copper does not corrode easily, it is used a lot for water pipes. Also, its malleability means that copper pipes can be bent to go round corners easily, without breaking. Copper sulphate is used as a fungicide to stop plant roots from blocking drains and sewerage systems.

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