Copper Refining Products

Copper is an ore that is in much demand today. It is used in almost all electrical products on the market including the Stockroom Trolleys.

History of Copper

It is believed that copper has been around for over 11,000 years. It is product that is easy to mine and melt down. CU being the symbol for copper comes from cuprum which means "from the island of Cyprus." The Roman Empire actually mined most of its copper from the island of Cyprus, thus the name.

Not knowing how to strengthen copper Native Americans used it for decorative items, jewelry, and ornaments. There was a period of time known as the "Copper Age" when copper was used regularly. It was too soft to be used in the manufacture of tools so when bronze was discovered copper was not used as much.

Refining Copper

Smelting was invented in the 6th millenniums BC. Early smelting consisted of roasting ores in small clay crucibles which produce ingots. The ingots were then beat into wood working tools such the famous copper axe of the Iceman.

There is a new way to refine copper that is a lot better than the traditional method. Today scrap copper is charged continuously in a furnace made like a shaft. The oxy-fuel burners melt the copper and the shaft is tapped every so often. It is taken from the shaft where it is first melted and put into a tuyere equipped furnace. It is during the second refining that it receives an injection of a mixture of oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen.

Top Ten Producers of Copper

The top ten producers of copper are;
1. Codelco in Chile
2. Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold in the USA
3. BHP Billiton Ltd. In Australia
4. Xstrata Plc in Switzerland
5. Rio Tinto Group in Australia
6. Anglo American Olc in the UK
7. Grupo Mexico in Mexico
8. Glencore International AG in Switzerand
9. Southern Copper Corporation in the USA
10. KGHM Polska Miedz SA in Poland

Products Made Out of Copper

Today copper is used in various products. Pennies were first made only of copper until later bronze was used. Copper is very important in the manufacture of electrical products. It is estimated that around 65% of the demand for copper is for the electrical field. Copper wire is used in;
1. The generation of power
2. Power transmission
3. The distribution of power
4. Telecommunications
5. Electronic circuitry
6. Electric motors
7. Roofs
8. Roof flashings
9. Rain gutters
10. Downspouts
11. Printing plates in etching and printmaking
12. In glass making to add the colors green and brown

Copper in the Human Body

Copper is also a necessary part of the human body. The RDA for copper in the normal adult body is 0.97 mg/day as 3.0 mg/day. Copper is processed in the liver and then distributed to other parts of the body tissue. The body excretes excess copper through bile. Copper deficiency can also produce symptoms such as those of anemia. Those with Wilson's disease have a large accumulation of copper in their body tissues.

Copper is used in so many products, and can be sold at a salvage yard which is why today there are so many thefts involving equipment that has copper in them. Salvage yards have had to start getting more information from those bringing the copper to the salvage yard, so that should the copper be from stolen equipment it is easy to apprehend the thieves.