What is copper – technical details

What is copper?

Copper is a heavy metal that conducts heat and electrical current well and is very stable.

In pure form, it glows bright red. In the air, however, a patina forms over the years that protects the metal from further corrosion, which can be observed well on copper roofs.

Copper is relatively soft and stretchy. Therefore, it can be processed and shaped well. And above all, it is almost 100 percent recyclable!


Copper is the oldest metal that is processed and used by people. Already in 9000 BC. our ancestors are said to have made the first items out of copper. The material became important for mankind with the beginning of the copper age, which from about 3500 – 2200 BC. was enough.

Over the centuries, people learned to handle the metal better and treat it in a variety of ways – for example by hammering, heating, casting or mixing (alloying) with other metals such as lead, silver, zinc or tin.

Where does copper occur?

Copper is an element of life. It occurs in the earth’s crust, the oceans, lakes, and rivers in various forms and concentrations – from tiny trace elements to rich mining deposits. The raw material can still be found on all continents – and there is no shortage in sight because copper is not used but used because it can be melted down again and again.

The most important copper ore deposits are today in Chile and in the USA. 20 percent of the known world reserves are stored there. Other important funding areas are Africa, Australia, China, Canada, Indonesia, South America, Russia, and Poland. In Germany, the scarce deposits are exhausted. The once largest European copper mine in the Mansfeld region was active until the 1980s.

Function in the human body

The trace element copper has an abundance of functions in the human body: it is used to build up red blood cells and is an important component of many enzymes. It contributes to blood formation, is involved in the production of energy, ensures tight connective tissue, influences the immune system and has a positive effect on inflammation.


According to a publication by the German Nutrition Society, an adult needs 1 to 1.5 mg of copper a day. Other sources recommend up to 3mg. As a rule, this need is met by a balanced diet. The body excretes too much copper.

Deficiency symptoms are rare. For example, you could express yourself through anemia, listlessness, sleep disorders, high cholesterol, disturbed iron utilization or a general feeling of weakness.

Copper is found in dairy products, avocados, meat, fish, shellfish, whole grain, eggs, nuts , and legumes, among others.

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