Atomic Number: 29 Atomic Radius: 186 pm (Van der Waals)
Atomic Symbol: Cu Melting Point: 1084.6 °C
Atomic Mass: 63.55 Boiling Point: 2562 °C
Electron Configuration:
[Ar] 4s1 3d10
Oxidation States: 2, 1


(L. cuprum, from the island of Cyprus) It is believed that copper has been mined for 5,000 years.



Copper is reddish and takes on a bright metallic luster. It is malleable, ductile, and a good conductor of heat and electricity (second only to silver in electrical conductivity).


Copper occasionally occurs natively, and is found in many minerals such as cuprite, malachite, azurite, chalcopyrite, and bornite.

Large copper ore deposits are found in the U.S., Chile, Zambia, Zaire, Peru, and Canada. The most important copper ores are the sulfides, the oxides, and carbonates. From these, copper is obtained by smelting, leaching, and by electrolysis.

Copper - wire
Copper is often used for electrical wiring applications.


The electrical industry is one of the greatest users of copper. Iron’s alloys — brass and bronze — are very important: all American coins are copper alloys and gun metals also contain copper.

Copper - cent
Canadian pennies are plated in copper.

Copper has wide use as an agricultural poison and as an algaecide in water purification. Copper compounds, such as Fehling’s solution, are widely used in analytical chemistry tests for sugar.


High-purity copper (99.999+ percent) is available commercially.


Los Alamos National Laboratory, Periodic Table of Elements,