Things of interest

A is for Alloys

To enhance its properties, pure copper is alloyed with other metals for different purposes. Pure copper is combined with various other metals such as zinc, tin, nickel, aluminium, gold, silver and manganese to enhance its natural properties.

A

B is for Beer Brewing

Copper is easy to mould, and transfers heat quickly and evenly. This makes it the ideal material for brewing kettles. Though some copper brewing kettles have now been replaced with stainless steel, they are still known simply as "coppers".

B

C is for Copper, and Coins

Copper was once used to make dinars and today is used for euros. Euros contain various copper alloys such as Nordic gold, which was specially developed for the new currency. Over time, copper has overtaken gold and silver as the most commonly-used metal for coins.

C

D is for Dead Sea Scrolls

One of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls found in Israel was written on copper instead of the more brittle parchment. The scroll does not contain religious texts but hints at other treasures which have yet to be found.

D

E is for Egypt

Copper was the first metal to be exploited in Egypt and the ancient world. Archaeologists recovered part of a five-thousand-year-old plumbing system from the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. They found the copper pipes were still in working condition.

 

E

F is for Food

The total amount of copper in the human body is on average about 100 milligrams. Good news for sweet tooths: A bar of chocolate contains about 12.5 milligrams of copper compounds. That’s over ten times the daily requirement! Large quantities of copper trace elements are also found in nuts and offal.

F

G is for Gold

Pure gold is so soft that you can shape it with your hands, which is why most gold jewellery alloys actually contain a mixture of gold, silver and copper. In Europe, it was even forbidden to alloy gold with metals other than silver and copper up until the 19th century.

G

H is for Hygiene

The Ancient Egyptians knew about the disinfectant properties of copper 4000 years ago. Scientists have since confirmed its antimicrobial properties. Copper is used for protection against dangerous germs – making it the obvious choice for frequently-contacted fittings in hospitals, such as door handles, light switches and taps.

H

I is for Innovation

An average mid-size car contains up to 22.5 kg of copper. Without copper electrical and electronic components, we wouldn’t have intelligent engine and gear management or extensive sensor and infotainment systems. Increasingly complex, efficient electrical systems in modern cars require more and more electrical power – and more copper.

I

J is for Jewellery

Copper’s attractive rosy colour and malleability makes it a popular metal for jewellery. Copper was used to craft pendants, talismans, charms and all kinds of jewellery by ancient peoples from the Greeks to the Maya. Some claim that wearing copper jewellery next to the skin can help relieve conditions such as arthritis.

J

K is for Kaikado

The Kaikado family of Kyoto has been handcrafting tea caddies since 1875. They use thin sheets of copper and brass to create double-layered caddies that soon develop a unique patina. The iconic Kaikado caddies are passed down through families across Japan and used by the Japanese Imperial household.

K

L is for Lightning

Every year lightning strikes many buildings throughout the world. Copper has long been used to protect buildings through lightning conductors. All that is needed is copper earthing.

L

M is for Medicine

Copper’s excellent conductivity makes it extremely useful in medicine. Copper coating on scalpels conducts electricity to heat the blade. This is especially important for controlling bleeding during operations and for removing damaged tissue.

M

N is for New World

The ships in which Columbus sailed to America were fitted with an outer skin of copper under the waterline to protect them from all kinds of biological growths. Nowadays the hulls of most sea going vessels are coated with paint containing copper to give them a similar protection

N

O is for Ore from Cyprus

The Romans gave copper its name. They called it "aes cyprium" (ore from Cyprus) because in ancient times most of the copper came from Cyprus. The word was later modified to "cuprum" from which we have our modern day "copper".

O

P is for Pesticide

The use of pesticides containing copper in eco-friendly farming is on the rise, as few effective alternatives exist. Gardeners also use copper for natural defence against slugs. Slugs secrete mucus that reacts with copper and acts as a natural repellent.

P

Q is for Quality

Copper is the best non-precious metal for conducting electricity and heat. It doesn’t rust or corrode, but develops a protective layer of green patina over time. Copper stays resistant to cold, heat and pressure for centuries and loses none of these properties when recycled.

Q

R is for Record-breaking

A new magnetic field world record of 91.4 Tesla was set on 22 June 2011 at Dresden-Rossendorf Helmholtz Centre in Germany. A double coil of copper wire, weighing 200kg and the size of a rubbish bin, was specially built for the purpose.

R

S is for Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is built of 350 sections of copper sheeting fitted onto an iron skeleton. Copper was an obvious choice: it withstood the long journey to America from France and resisted the salty sea it was exposed to.

S

T is for Time

In the 18th century, clockmaker John Harrison created sea clocks and watches that became famous for helping to measure longitude accurately. These innovations would not have been possible without the extensive use of two copper alloys, brass and tin-bronze.

T

U is for Universal

Copper pipes and fi ttings can be used in every part of domestic pipework services. Individual components of a copper system are interchangeable with those of other manufacturers. Copper system components will be universally available throughout Europe for years to come.

U

V is for Venus

All cultures have assigned classic metals to certain symbols or deities. Copper belongs to Venus or Aphrodite. The Middle Ages continued the ancient belief that copper had magical properties and could, for example, protect cattle and milk from wicked witches. Copper plates were hung around the neck as a cure for cholera, bleeding and ulcers.

V

W is for Wind Energy

The biggest offshore wind farms off the North and Baltic seas contain up to 30 tons of copper per turbine in their ring generators. The production of each ton of copper produces less than a ton of CO2. Over the course of a year, a ton of copper in a wind turbine can save over 150 times the amount of CO2 produced during it's manufacture.

W

X is for Xerxes

Xerxes I or Xerxes the Great was one of the Zoroastrian kings of the fi rst Persian era. His armies won many battles using superior weaponry made from bronze – the fi rst copper alloy to be discovered.

X

Y is for Youthful

With a history that goes back 10,000 years, copper is the oldest metal to be used by mankind. But it holds the secret of eternal youth. Copper loses neither its looks nor its functions over the centuries – and it stays youthful with hardly any maintenance.

Y

Z is for Zodiac

Copper is said to be a lucky metal for Taurus and Libra. Libra’s zodiac element is air, while Taurus’s is earth. Both of these star signs are ruled by the planet Venus – also the goddess many cultures associate with copper.

Z