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Answered 2012-07-14 06:11:26

Electrical Applications

Approximately 65% of copper produced is used for electrical applications. Copper has the highest electrical conductivity of any metal, apart from silver or gold, leading to applications in:

  • Power generation and transmission - generators, Transformers, motors, busbars and cables provide and deliver electricity safely and efficiently to homes and businesses.
  • Electrical equipment - providing circuitry, wiring and contacts for PCs, TVs and mobile phones.

Copper has a key role to play in energy efficiency - the judicious use of 1 tonne of copper in the energy sector makes it possible to reduce CO2 emissions by 200 tonnes per year on average.


25% of all the copper produced is used in buildings - for Plumbing, roofing and cladding. Copper provides light, durable maintenance-free structures that are naturally good looking, long lasting and fully recyclable. Copper's naturally antimicrobial properties can be exploited in hygienic surfaces for hospitals and healthcare facilities.


Trains, trams, cars and lorries all need copper and transport accounts for 7% of copper usage. The high purity copper wire harness system carries the current from the battery throughout the vehicle to equipment such as lights, central locking, on-board computers and satellite navigation systems. Electric super trams in cities such as Manchester, Sheffield and Croydon, provide clean, efficient transport powered by electric motors. The overhead contact wires are either copper-silver or copper-cadmium alloys.


Copper has known antibacterial effects, and surfaces made with copper or its alloys can help to reduce the spread of disease.


The remaining 3% is used for coins, sculptures, Musical Instruments and cookware.

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