What is the role of copper?
Copper is the earliest metal used by humans. As early as prehistoric times, people began to mine open-pit copper mines and use the copper to make weapons, tools and other utensils.
With the development of production, it is not enough to use production tools made of natural copper, and the development of production has prompted people to find ways to obtain copper from copper mines. Copper-containing minerals are more common, and most of them have bright and eye-catching colors, such as: golden chalcopyrite (copper-iron sulfide), bright green malachite, dark blue azurite, etc. After roasting in air, copper oxide is formed, which is then reduced with carbon to obtain metallic copper.
Artifacts made of pure copper are too soft and bendable. It has been found that tin is mixed into copper to make copper-tin alloy - bronze. Bronze is a great invention in human history and the earliest alloy in the history of metal smelting. After the invention of bronze, it became popular immediately, and since then human history has entered a new stage - the Bronze Age.
Bronze, which represented the most advanced metal smelting and casting technology at that time, was also mainly used in sacrificial rituals and wars. The bronzes discovered in the Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties were used as ceremonial utensils, weapons and accessories around them. This is different from the bronze wares of other countries in the world, forming a bronze ware cultural system with traditional Chinese characteristics.
Copper is widely used in electrical, light industry, machinery manufacturing, construction industry, national defense industry and other fields, and is second only to aluminum in the consumption of non-ferrous metal materials in my country. Copper is the most widely used and the largest in the electrical and electronic industries, accounting for more than half of the total consumption. Used in various cables and wires, such as motors and transformers, switches and printed circuit boards in machinery and transport vehicle manufacturing, in the manufacture of industrial valves and fittings, instruments, plain bearings, molds, heat exchangers and pumps, etc.
It is widely used in the manufacture of vacuums, distillation pots, brewing pots, etc. in the chemical industry. In the defense industry, it is used to manufacture bullets, shells, gun parts, etc. Every 3 million bullets produced requires 13-14 tons of copper.
In the construction industry, it is used as various pipes, pipe fittings, decorative devices, etc.
Copper has unique electrical conductivity and cannot be replaced by aluminum. In today's era of the development of electronic industry and household appliances, this ancient metal has regained its youth. Copper wires are being widely used. From the perspective of foreign products, the copper wire required for the electronic and electric accessories of an ordinary family car is 1 km long, the French high-speed train tracks use 10 tons of copper per kilometer, and the total weight of Boeing 747-200 aircraft accounts for 2% of copper. .
In recent decades, copper has also been found to have very good medical uses.
In the 1970s, Chinese medical inventors Liu Tongqing and Liu Tongle discovered that copper has a strong anti-cancer function, and successfully developed the corresponding anti-cancer drug "Ke 7851", which was clinically successful. Later, Mexican scientists also discovered that copper has anti-cancer properties.
Recently, British researchers found that copper has a strong bactericidal effect. It is believed that in the near future, copper will make a great contribution to the improvement of human health.
Zhang Mei, a researcher at the Information Center of the Ministry of Land and Resources, said at the "7th China Nonferrous Metals Industry Chain Development Forum" held in Beijing from April 15th to 20th that the reserves of copper resources identified in my country will continue to increase significantly in the next five years.