copper

Introduction

copper, metallic chemical element; symbol Cu [Lat. cuprum =copper]; at. no. 29; at. wt. 63.546; m.p. 1,083.4°C; b.p. 2,567°C; sp. gr. 8.96 at 20°C; valence +1 or +2. Copper and some of its alloys have been used by humanity since the Bronze Age . One of the first metals known to humans, copper was smelted as long ago as c. 5000 BC Cyprus, from which the metal's name originally comes, was a major source of copper in the ancient world.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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