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"Copper (Cu) is chemical element number 29 on the periodic table. This metal is softer than iron, but harder than zinc. It is a reddish metal with a transitional metallic luster that is part of the so-called Copper family along with gold and silver. Its main characteristic is that it is one of the best conductors of electricity. For this reason it is one of the most used materials in the manufacture of cables or electronic devices. It has a density of 8.96 g / cm³ and the melting point of copper is about 1083ºC.
Copper is the third most used metal in the world after iron and aluminum. It is a material that is abundant in nature, that is affordable and that can be recycled indefinitely. Being a soft metal it is possible to mold and form it in an easy way. It is also resistant to corrosion and oxidation.
By joining other elements in alloys, its mechanical characteristics improve, but its conductivity is reduced. There are many copper alloys that, depending on the composition, obtain different characteristics. The main alloys are as follows:
Bronze = Copper (75-80%) + Tin
Brass = Copper + Zinc
Copper + Nickel
Copper + Aluminum
Copper + Beryllium
Copper + Chromium
Copper + Silver
Copper + Cadmium
Copper is mainly found in very small particulate rocks.
Mining: The mineral is extracted from the ground
Extraction: The metal is achieved after chemically transforming the mineral. This process is called reduction. Depending on the reactivity of the metal it will be easier or more difficult to extract it from its mineral.
Purification: Copper impurities must be eliminated and electrolysis is used for this. In this process, copper is transferred from an impure anode to a cathode in an electrolytic cell. The copper obtained after this process is 99.9% pure
The recycling process would be as follows: The copper is collected and then the copper scrap is classified depending on its purity. It can be sent directly to foundry (pure copper) or undergoes a treatment. When the material is liquid, the degree of purity is checked by chemical analysis. If the waste contains oxides, they melt to form anodes and are then taken to the electrorefining process. After this process, the copper would obtain the desired level of purity and by separating the impurities with value they can be used to create copper by-products. In some alloys such as bronze or brass, the refining process is not necessary because the scrap is melted directly to obtain new alloys. "