Five intriguing facts about copper: what you need to know

By Jurassic JennApr 9, 2024 15:33 PMPersonal Development
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Five intriguing facts about copper
Five intriguing facts about copper. Source: en.wikipedia.org

Copper plays an important role in life, providing technological progress that shapes the world. SSPDaily has prepared five interesting facts about this metal that emphasize its importance and versatility.

People have been using copper for over 10,000 years

The history of copper goes back thousands of years, and evidence of its use has been found in ancient artifacts and tools. The Etzi Glacier mummy discovered in 1991, dating from around 3300 BC, had a perfectly preserved axe made of pure copper. Copper was also used by Neolithic communities as a substitute for stone tools around 8,000 BC.

Copper has natural antibacterial properties

When bacteria, fungi and viruses come into contact with a copper surface, electrically charged ion particles destroy the microbe's cell membrane, making it inert. This phenomenon prevents microorganisms from developing resistance to the antimicrobial properties of copper. As a result, copper is widely used in public buildings to make door handles, handrails and finger pads that prevent the transmission of bacteria.

A copper time capsule was sent into space

In 1977, NASA launched the golden Voyager capsule into space, consisting of two gilded copper phonograph records with images, greetings, and sounds from Earth. Intended to transmit the history of the Earth to extraterrestrials or potential space explorers in the future, these records are a treasure trove of information. Copper was chosen as the material for these records because of its durability.

Copper protects ships from marine organisms

In the eighteenth century, the maritime industry faced a constant problem: mussels, barnacles, and other marine organisms attached themselves to ship hulls. They caused delays, increased weight, and interfered with maneuvering. Copper was found to be toxic to these organisms, leading to the development of copper plating for ship hulls.

Oxidized copper transformed the Statue of Liberty

When the Statue of Liberty was unveiled in 1886, it was a dull brown color. However, as a result of the oxidation process, where copper loses electrons when exposed to air and water, the statue gradually turned green.

By 1920, the transition to the iconic green hue was complete. Interestingly, the thin layer of oxidation provides protection from environmental influences, similar to how ancient metal artifacts are preserved.

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