Copper and compounds has a widespread use in a range of applications. It is used to make electrical products and electronics (electrical generators and motors, electrical power and lighting fixtures, electrical wiring, radio and television sets, computers, air-conditioning systems and other electrical appliances), in building construction (water pipes, roof coverings), equipment and heating (refrigeration units, motor vehicle radiators, home heating systems, steam condensers), and chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing.
It is used in pigments and dyes, electroplated protective coatings and undercoatings, cooking utensils, insulation for liquid fuels, coins, cement, food and drugs, metallurgy, nylons, insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, pollution control devices, printing and photocopying, photographics, pyrotechnics and wood preservatives and timber treatments.
It is also used to manufacture anti-fouling paints, electrolysis and electroplating processes, fabrics and textiles, flame proofing materials, glass and ceramics.
Copper forms many alloys such as bronze (with tin), brass (with zinc) and monel metal (with nickel), also used in a variety of industries.
Applications of selected copper compounds
Copper (II) acetate is used as a fungicide, catalyst for organic reactions, pigment for ceramics, insecticides, mildew preventive, preservative for cellulose materials, stabiliser for polyurethanes and nylons, corrosion inhibitor, and fuel additive. It is used in textile dyeing, anti-fouling paints, electrolysis and electroplating processes, flame proofing, printing and photocopying, and pyrotechnics. It is also used as a 'shark chaser', or repellent, developed as part of survival equipment for military personnel who fly over shark-infested waters.
Copper (II) chloride is used as a catalyst for organic and inorganic reactions, mordant for dyeing and printing textiles, pigment for glass and ceramics, wood preservative, disinfectant, insecticide, fungicide, and herbicide, and as a catalyst in the production of chlorine from hydrogen chloride. It is also used in the petroleum industry as a purifying agent, in the manufacture of indelible, invisible, and laundry marking inks, in metallurgy to recover mercury from ores, in refining copper, silver and gold, in tinting baths for iron and tin, in photography, in pyrotechnics, and to remove lead compounds from petrol and oils.
Copper (I) cyanide is used in silver, brass, and copper-tin alloy plating, and as an insecticide, fungicide, and anti-fouling agent.
Copper (II) hydroxide is used in the manufacture of rayon, battery electrodes, and other copper salts. It is used as a mordant in dyeing, as a pigment, feed additive, in treatment for storage rot on cranberries, and as a fungicide against bacterial soft spot on lettuce, peaches, cranberries, and walnuts. It is also used in herbicides, insecticides, treating and staining paper, antifouling marine paints, corrosion inhibitors, electroplating processes, electronics, fabric and textiles, flame proofing, fuel additives, glass, ceramics, cement, metallurgy, paper products, pollution control catalysts, printing and photo copying, pyrotechnics, and wood preservatives.
Copper (I) oxide is used as a pigment in glass, ceramics, enamels, porcelain glazes, and artificial gems, and as an optical glass polishing agent, fungicide, insecticide, molluscicide, welding flux for bronze, heat-collecting surface in solar energy devices, insecticide for potato plants, catalyst in ammonia manufacture, solvent for chromic iron ores, and component of antifouling paint for ship bottoms. It is used in manufacturing rayon, reducing tar in tobacco smoke, purification of hydrogen, 'sweetening' petroleum gases, and oxidation of exhaust gases from internal combustion engines. It is used in galvanic electrodes, pyrotechnics, cloud seeding, corrosion inhibitors, electroplating processes, electronics, fabric and textiles, flame proofing, fuel additives, glass, ceramics, cement, metallurgy, paper products, pollution control catalysts, printing and photocopying, and wood preservatives.
Copper (II) sulfate is used in preserving hides, tanning leather, manufacturing copper salts, preserving pulp wood and ground pulp, preventing and controlling Dutch elm disease, and controlling algae growth in impounded waters. It is used in electroplating solutions, laundry and metal marking inks, petroleum refining, pyrotechnics, water-resistant adhesives for wood, metal colouring, tinting baths, synthetic rubber, insecticides, herbicides, anti-fouling paints, corrosion inhibitors, electrolysis and electroplating processes, fabric and textiles, flame proofing, fuel additives, glass, ceramics, cement, food and drugs, metallurgy, nylon, paper products, and pigment and dyes.
It is used as a battery electrolyte, flotation agent, pigment in paints, varnishes and other materials, mordant bath for intensifying photographic negatives, reagent toner in photography and photoengraving, fungicide for control of downy mildew, blights, leaf spots, apple scab, bitter rot, and peach leaf curl, and pollution control catalyst.
In agriculture, copper (II) sulfate is used in Bordeaux and Burgundy mixtures on the farm for the control of fungus diseases, correction of copper deficiency in soils, correction of copper deficiency in animals, stimulation of growth for fattening pigs and broiler chickens, a molluscicide for the destruction of slugs and snails (particularly the snail host of the liver fluke).
Copper (II) oxide is used in the ceramic industry for imparting blue, green or red tints in glasses, glazes and enamels. It is occasionally employed for incorporation in mineral supplements for insuring against an insufficiency of copper in the diet of animals. Among its other uses is the preparation of solutions for the rayon industry.
The petroleum industry uses copper (I) chloride in their 'oil sweetening' process. Ammoniacal solutions of cuprous chloride are employed for the absorption of any carbon monoxide which may be present in a gas as an impurity. Copper (II) nitrate has a number of small uses, such as in ceramics, in dyeing as a mordant, in fireworks and in photography.
Substance name: Copper
CASR number: 7440-50-8
Molecular formula: Cu
Synonyms: Cuprous compounds and cupric compounds.
Copper is a reddish-brown, lustrous, ductile and malleable metal. Copper is commercially available as ingots, sheets, wire or powder. It becomes dull when exposed to air, and when exposed to moist air it becomes coated with a green-coloured carbonate compound. Copper is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.
Melting Point: 1083°C
Boiling Point: 2595°C
Density: 8.94 (water = 1)
Copper can be attacked by acids (both mineral acids (e.g. hydrochloric and sulphuric acids) and organic acids (e.g. acetic acid)), it is soluble in dilute ammonia. It can form salts, such as copper sulphate and copper ferrocyanide. Copper is incompatible with alkali solutions, sodium azide and acetylene. Copper can react with strong oxidants like chlorates, bromates and iodates, causing an explosion hazard.
The National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) holds data for all sources of copper and compounds emissions in Australia.
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