Copper is one of the transition metals that is characterized by its bright “copper” color in its natural solid state. Copper has an atomic weight of 63.546, a melting point of 1984.32 °F, and a boiling point of 4643 °F. Copper is known for having high electrical conductivity properties. Some common uses of copper include: as copper wire for electrical purposes, as a component in metal monetary coins, as a sulphate to purify water, and as a component in water proof roofing material.
Copper is usually found in mineral ores, and isolation procedures are used to obtain pure copper from these minerals.
Copper sulfides are the minerals that are most often mined for copper isolation and use. These copper sulfides include: chalcopyrite, bornite, covellite, and chalcocite. Additional sources of copper include copper carbonates such as azurite and malachite. The major type of copper ore that is used for isolation purposes is from porphyry copper deposits; these deposits are mined through open pit mining.To isolate copper from these mineral ores, processes are used to form copper sulphides which can be reduced further through copper oxides. The crude copper that is formed from these reduction reactions is further isolated using electrolytic procedures; during the electrolytic process, pure copper cathodes are used.
Copper is one of the metallic elements that occur in nature in its free form, this form of copper is named native copper. Native copper is mined on a small scale and so isolation procedures for copper are not always necessary. However, for large scale copper use isolation procedures are used on copper ore.
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