Copper – Periodic Table of Videos

Copper – Periodic Table of Videos

Okay weíre going to be looking today at copper.
This is something looking back at the old video, itís a short video and there isnít
any experimentation in it so I thought weíd do something a bit practical. Copper is an element which people are very
familiar with because itís such a characteristic coloured metal, sort of reddish colour, though
it gets darker when oxide forms. But itís quite a soft metal and you can cut it quite
easily if you have a cutter like this which has steel blades, it will just dig into the
metal and it should just cut off. When you cut the metal you get this very nice, shiny,
fresh surface coloured just like copper. This is a ball of copper, copper metal. As
you might imagine itís a ball of metal so therefore it is quite dense and heavy. I mean
itís not as dense as, I think Steve told me this morning, that if we had a ball this
size of plutonium he told me it would weigh about a kilo and a half so he thought. So
itís not quite as heavy as that but still itís pretty heavy and dense. So this is a very, very nice sample of very
fine copper wire. So the copper wire here is, what width is this? This isÖ phew! Point
zero, Iím not even going toÖthatís just too small, so itís point one of a millimetre. So inside the beaker weíve got a solution
called sodium potassium tartrate, so no copper in there at the moment. Weíre going to introduce
that through this. This is a solution of copper sulphate. Copper is very popular for architectural use
because if you put it on the roofs of buildings it then reacts, particularly with carbon dioxide
in the air, to give a very nice green colour. First of all though we need to heat this to
about 50∞C, and to the sodium potassium tartrate we need to add some very weak, hydrogen
peroxide so this is only 3% hydrogen peroxide, so in it goes. We need to make sure they mix
together which is why thereís a stirring bar at the bottom there stirring away. Okay
so thatís stirring nicely, so as I said sodium potassium tartrate and hydrogen peroxide and
we need to add only one mill so thatís 1cm3 of the copper sulphate. The copper wire here is very, very high grade,
this is grade one copper wire and itís point one of a millimetre in diameter and you can
see the wonderful copperas lustre coming off the side there. What do you mean by grade one copper? So this is very high purity, this is like
99.99% copper, used for electronics fabrications and high quality research samples. Itís also used for electrical wiring, in
fact itís used so much that in a country like the UK each person has about 175 kilos
of copper associated with each person, in the piping, the wiring and so on. The problem
is that in many other countries, for example in China, people have very much less copper
associated with them, there isnít so much electrical wiring in rural parts of China.
And if everybody in China had the same amount of copper associated with them as those in
England or America or Canada there wouldnít be enough copper in all the known deposits
around the world. Copper is actually necessary for life, plants
and animals use copper. But actually you can have a disease called Wilsonís disease which
basically your body canít metabolise copper properly, itís actually an inherited disease. Ready? Whatís going on there is itís producing
a lot of gas so itís reacting to form a complex. And itís going from the potassium tartrate
complex there to well, its producing carbon dioxide and oxygen, mainly oxygen gas is being
produced which is why youíre seeing the fizzing. And itís become copper oxide, cuprous oxide
actually. Copper is found as a metal lying around in
various places in the world. I believe the name came from the island of Cyprus in the
middle of the Mediterranean, but copper has always been know even in pre-historic times
people found small amounts of copper. But as we use more and more copper people have
had to dig deeper and deeper mines. The mine in Chile where those very brave miners were
entombed for more than two months and then rescued was a copper mine. And to get the
metal that we need weíre going to have to go deeper and deeper and deeper into the earth. So what weíve got in there now is cuprous
oxide itís copper 1 oxide. And itís actually gone from what was a kind of clear see-through,
all right itís got a colour on it, but see-through solution to something thatís very cloudy.
So what weíve got there is a precipitate of copper oxide. Copper is very good because it has very high
thermal and electrical conductivity. What that means is that heat flows through it very
well and also electricity. If you make wires for electrical transmission out of copper,
when the electricity goes through them you get very much less heating than say if you
made the wires out of iron, and all this heating is of course lost energy. Youíd do even better
if you made the wires out of silver, but silver is too expensive. OK. So letís see if we can change this reaction
back. So at the moment it started out as being about 50∞C and itís shot up to about 63∞C,
I imagine it was even hotter than that when it originally changed colour. So weíll see
if we can take it back, Iíll put that back in. I actually bought this from the British Geological
Survey which is just down the road from here, I think it is in Keyworth I think. And I just
saw this and it was a Christmas present from my husband and I picked it out. I just think
itís really cool actually. What did your husband think of getting that
as a Christmas present? He knows what Iím like! So he buys these
things for me he knows Iím a bit of a magpie, I like to collect shiny things, and pretty
things, thatís my copper. So the colour is gradually changing, itís
gone from orange and now kind of a murky yellow. You can see itís kind of green now. And again
a gradual change, it wasnít a sudden spontaneous straight back to being blue and see-through,
you know clear. Now weíve got back to that clear solution. And again you can see on the
stirrer bar all the bubbles of the oxygen, little bit of C02 forming on that. Most organisms, you and me, use iron in our
blood to transport oxygen, thatís what makes our blood red. But in some sorts of crustaceans,
crabs and lobsters, theyíre different they use copper. They use a compound called hemocyanin,
itís a blue compound of copper. Cyanine is some classical word for blue. So they really
have blue blood. And these hemocyanin use two atoms of copper in each molecule to transport
the oxygen around the body of the crab or lobster. But itís not nearly as good as haemoglobin,
so if you start running after a crab or lobster it quickly gets tired compared to running
after a rabbit or something like that, which can keep going faster than you can.


  1. I think that copper is one of the most beautiful looking elements, but sadly it loses its shine quite quickly because it oxidizes relatively fast. Gold is of course also very beautiful, I adore it. Another really pretty metal is osmium; it has a really nice blue shine to it.

    Bismuth crystals would be my favorite at the monument, they form a rainbow colored oxidation layer which is absolutely magnificent I think.

  2. Maybe it's been mentioned, but what is Neil's job title? He reminds me of the head of chemistry undergrad labs at my last job…

  3. Oh goodness, I'm such a nerd, I'm 1/3rd through the video and I'm already super exited seeing copper.

  4. Mr Neil is really weird. He's like that second plan hero, who often is more intresting than the main charachters.

  5. Pun 29
    I now have a copper pun, and I'll tell you all about it when I Cu again.

    That wasn't just a pun, also a song reference. Oh my.

  6. Don't forget some humanoids have copper based blood as well. Those being the Vulcans and the Romulans. one species on two different worlds who evolves to different ways of life they're far more advanced than we are with our iron-based blood.

  7. Wait – hemocyanin is not as efficient at transporting oxygen as hemoglobin? Then, in the Star Trek Universe, Vulcans (whose blood contains coper instead of iron) would actually be at a physical disadvantage with humans. Another way in which science fiction differs from actual science!

  8. So what was it that Dr. Tang poured into the copper colored copper stuff that turned it back into the blue colored copper stuff?

  9. They didn't put copper around the tops of buildings because it's pretty, although it is. When architectural copper gets rained on, copper atoms will wash down the wall…killing all the algae that tries to grow on the building. Shingles sold today have copper in them for the same reason.

  10. This video would have been vastly improved by some footage of the Professor chasing after a crab. Show, don't tell!

  11. 4:32 the very last part of the Stone Age, prior to the introduction of bronze, is known as the “chalcolithic” period. That was when people started making use of copper metal deposits that they came across for tools etc. Of course, the softness of copper limited its use in this way. Then smelting of copper from ores was discovered, as well as how to mix it with tin to make bronze, which was a much harder metal. (Not as hard as iron–that came later.)

  12. Boy, if I ever get the chance to visit you guys I will, provided I'm not captured by the royal guard for having interest in ye olde kemistry.

  13. we need to recycle our rare earth metals much better than we do right now, especially with those which we need in the semiconductor industry are generally needed for Building electronics. Some of them like Cadmium are extremely rare from the start and are getting wasted in throw-away products like batterys.
    But i saw another video on the topic of recycling electronics to recover the precious metals which looked pretty much as we are indeed making progress; just needs to be kept in mind by everyone.

  14. Uh Oh, I’m sensing anti-industrial bias with the talk about the disparity of copper between West and primitive. Odd to see in a chemist. And in concern for how hard life is for copper miners; better leave the mining to miners, that’s what they do: provide raw material to chemists for profit.

  15. Wow I knew tha miners were trapped, I hadn't heard that they were rescued. That is fantastic! It blows my mind to think of the work that is done to make our modern world work.

  16. I love this channel. I've always thought that Copper reacted with Oxygen and the Green was just oxidation I would have never known its the Co2 that is causing the reaction.

  17. The professor is wrong about rabbits being able to outrun humans. Humans can outrun any animal, we are the best long distance runners, being able to chase down antelopes to the point that they die of exhaustion.

  18. An enormous amount of that copper is in water pipes in homes. That copper is being torn out and replaced with plastic alternatives. All that copper is recycled because it is valuable and scrap yards will pay you decently for it. This represents kind of a huge reserve of already refined and easily recyclable copper that I predict will ease some of those concerns. It's still a real issue, though.

  19. Iron has a higher affinity for oxygen, hence the better transportation of oxygen within hemoglobin in blood. I wonder why some invertebrates evolved to use the less-effective copper instead…

  20. My work takes me to alots of greenhouses. They have drinking water fountains. I noticed on one of them that read "Antimicrobial copper". What makes copper antimicrobial? Any special process?

  21. There is alot of Copper in fast charge Lead acid batteries. When I change out cells in large batteries. The Lead melts away exposing a copper core in the battery post.

  22. I'd love to have some large spheres, maybe a few inches diameter, of multiple different metals to show the densities of the metals, and they're easier to hold because they would be spheres.

  23. The dude in green analyzing the grade A copper wire was talking so quiet. Atleast to me. He's like, "Its so majestic. We speak softly so we don't disturb it."

  24. If those countries like the USA that have power-grids of 110 volts had used 220/240V instead, they would've only needed half the copper in their networks!

  25. So where did the main source of copper in mines originate from? Were they from meteors or from the volcanic activity pushing the copper out from deep within the earth.

  26. While back I bought 100oz of .999 copper bullion, quite inexpensive if you will, it's an interesting metal for sure

  27. Its a perception of value we've put on silver proffessor.. The world would rather hord it because it "raises human value".. If it would have been applied in "World Architecture Value" then maybe a country would have silver equipment or silver wiring everywhere.. Maybe it would be a small sized country, but at least the planet would have an example and can do something similar with another material.. We need to be rich in varius ways, not just "profits"..

  28. copper is ductable and combined with sodium potassium tartrate and some hydrogen peroxide and some copper sulphate will make copper oxide

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