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Copper

Atomic number: 
29
Symbol: 
Cu
Weight: 
63.55
Density: 
8.96
Melting point: 
1 357.75
Boiling point: 
2 835.00
Heat capacity: 
0.39
Electronegativity: 
1.90
Abundance of elements: 
60.00

Copper is reddish, malleable and ductile metallic element with excellent thermal and electrical conductive qualities. It is a very important industrial material and is used in the electrical, electronics, transportation and construction industries.
Because of its properties, singularly or in combination, of high ductility, malleability, and thermal and electrical conductivity, and its resistance to corrosion, copper has become a major industrial metal, ranking third after iron and aluminum in terms of quantities consumed.
Copper is one of the materials which contribute strongly to economic growth in Europe. This material is very significant to the economy because it has many different application in a wide range of key economical sectors.
Copper is not considered a critical material. However, researchers alert that in addition to market and socio-political factors other factors including mining energy and water consumption and ground usage can turn copper into a critical element. Leading copper producing countries in 2009 were Chile (34% of global production), Peru (8%), U.S. (8%), China (6%), Indonesia (6%), Australia (6%), Russia (5%), Zambia (4%), Canada (3%), Poland (3%), Kazakhstan (3%), and Mexico (2%); Mongolia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have major, recently discovered reserves.
The European Union net imports equate to 20% of total world production. Import dependence is 47%. Between 1995 and 2008 world production of copper has increased 50% from 9.8 million tonnes to 15.5 million tonnes. The major change seen in the industry over the last 25 years concerns the proportion of copper mined in South America, increasing from one quarter to one half of total world production. This is largely due to an increase in production from Chile, from 16% of world production in 1985, up to 35% in 2005.
Although copper is relatively easy to recycle, the recycling rate has been static for some time. All-in-all, the EU Recycling Input Rate increased to 40% in 2008, up from 38% in 2007. The unique qualities of copper make it difficult to substitute. That said, copper use in a number of non-electrical construction applications can be replaced by aluminium or non-metal materials. This is a sizable proportion of existing use.Aluminum substitutes are used for copper in power cables, electrical equipment, automobile radiators, and cooling and refrigeration tube; titanium and steel are used in heat exchangers; optical fiber substitutes for copper in telecommunications applications; and plastics substitute for copper in water pipe, drain pipe, and plumbing fixtures.

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