Chemistry of Copper

Copper (Cu), is the 29th element in the periodic table, on the first row of transition elements. It comprises about 0.006% (60mgkg_1 or parts per million, ppm) of the Earth's crust. Natural copper is composed of two isotopes, 63Cu at 69.17% and 65Cu at 30.83% abundance. Several radioisotopes of Cu can be prepared; the most common is 64Cu, with a half-life of 12.7 h.

Copper is found naturally as divalent Cu2+ and monovalent Cu+, and sometimes as elemental Cu (Cu0). Cu3+ can be produced in the laboratory, but is highly reactive and not commonly found in nature. Cu2+ is the most common form in solution (especially in oxic solution), but Cu1+ is predominant in minerals of copper, Cu2O, Cu2S, and CuFeS2. Cu2+ forms strong square planar complexes with a variety of inorganic and organic substances.

10 000 BC, and copper jewelry has been found that date back to 8700 BC. It was also most likely the first metal to be smelted (refined from a non-metallic ore); copper smelting operations dating to about 5000 BC have been found. Artisans soon discovered the art of alloying copper, adding a small amount of tin to produce bronze, which is harder and more suitable for tool and weapon making than pure copper. Later, copper was alloyed with zinc to make brass.

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