Elements and Compounds

What are common uses of copper?

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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



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



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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