Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color.

Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.

Copper is one of the few metals that can occur in nature in a directly usable metallic form (native metals). This led to very early human use in several regions, from c. 8000 BC. Thousands of years later, it was the first metal to be smelted from sulfide ores, c. 5000 BC; the first metal to be cast into a shape in a mold, c. 4000 BC; and the first metal to be purposely alloyed with another metal, tin, to create bronze, c. 3500 BC.

General and Atomic Properties of Copper

Atomic Number


Atomic Weight


Atomic Diameter

2.551 x 10 -10m

Melting Point

1356 K

Boiling Point

2868 K

Density at 293 K

8.94 x 10 3 kg/m 3

Electronic Structure

3d 104s

Valence States


Fermi Energy

7.0 eV

Fermi Surface

spherical, necks at [111]

Hall Coefficient

-5.12 x 10 -11 m 3/(A .S)

Magnetic State


Heat of Fusion

134 J/g

Heat of Vaporization

3630 J/g

Heat of Sublimation @ 1299 K

3730 J/g

Crystallographic Features of Copper

Type of Structure


Space Group

O h 5 - Fm3m

Crystal Structure

face-centered cubic

Number of Atoms per Unit Cell


Lattice Parameters at 293 K

3.6147 x 10 -10 m

Distance of Closest Atomic Approach
(Burgers vector) at 293

2.556 x 10 -10m

Goldschmidt Atomic Radii
(12-fold coordination)

1.28 x 10 -10m

Atomic Volume

1.182 10 -29m 3