Copper (version 1) – Periodic Table of Videos

Copper (version 1) – Periodic Table of Videos

So this is a very, very, very nice sample
of very fine copper wire. So the copper wire here is…what width
is this? This is 0.0. I’m not even going to… that is just
too small. Copper is unusual among the metals in that
it is coloured. It is only copper and gold that are coloured.
So you can see here we have copper coins. In fact, you can
see that this one looks brighter that that one, that is a modern
one that’s been plated and you can see it is a slight cheat
because modern UK coins although they have copper inside they
have iron inside so with a magnet you can just pick them up
but the proper copper coins are not magnetic at all. So it is 0.1 of a millimetre. So the copper
wire here is very, very high grade, this is grade 1 copper wire
and it is 0.1 of a millimetre in diameter and you can see the
wonderful copperous lustre. Copper compounds are not very reactive, in
fact if you put iron filings into copper sulphate or some
other copper salt, the copper coats out on the iron filings and
which are gray and then they go a nice sort of rosy colour
almost like gold. It’s often one of the first experiments
that people do as chemists. What do you mean by ‘Grade 1 copper’? So this very high purity, this is like 99.99%
copper, used for electronics fabrications and high quality
research samples. It is a very beautiful sample. On the other hand, quite surprisingly, that
copper chloride is quite reactive. I did an experiment once in
which I took a cupcake container which was made of aluminium
and put copper chloride in it, the solution, and it
boiled. I was trying to demonstrate how reactive it was to my children.
I didn’t notice that the copper chloride had burnt
through the aluminium and made a hole in our sitting room
carpet. Most organisms, you and me, use iron in our
blood to transport oxygen, that’s what makes our
blood red, but in some sorts of crustaceans crabs and lobsters
they are different: they use copper. They use a copper
called hemocyanin. It is a blue compound of copper.
Cyan is some classical word for blue, so they really had
blue blood. And these hemocyanin uses two atoms of copper
in each molecule to transport the oxygen around the body of
the crab or lobster but it is 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. omg this is soooooooooooooo interesting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    knowledge is amazing. crabs are blue because they use Cu to transfer O instead of Fe and that's why our blood is red.

  2. And if you, a hemoglobin, chase after a horseshow crab, a hemocyanate, the crab will get tired more quickly.

    But I dont chase crabs 🙂

  3. good example how we formed from the sea, they still have the limitation of copper transfered oxygen than humans with the upgraded iron transferred oxygen mechanism

  4. I wonder, if one day, we will discover another species, that uses an even better metal in the blood for oxygen transfer.
    So some use copper, us mammals use iron which is better. I wonder if there is anything that uses something better than iron!?
    Would be very interesting to see what the colour of that blood would be!

  5. Copper has a heat conductivity of 401 W/(m*K). Almost twice that of aluminium and almost as good as silver.

    You can do a lot better than that with fairly exotic materials. E.g. Graphene can do ~3000 W/(m*K). If you want to make 3d-chips with thousands of layers with conventional silicon technology you would pretty much be required to to use graphene or carbon nanotbues inside the CPU die to conduct to the surface of the chip.

  6. Hemoglobin weighs a massive 17 000 daltons and transports a measily 48 daltons of oxygen.

    Biological systems are limited to a tiny assortment of materials and an infinitesimal subset of all potential arrangements of atoms.

    Just consider how much harder it would have been to design cars if they had to reproduce and self-assemble "off-spring" from materials found in their own environment.

  7. Copper chloride is used in industrial processes for etching printed circuit boards. It is used instead of ferric chloride because it can be regenerated.

  8. i had asked one time to my teacher if blue blooded or green blooded animals used copper instead of iron since ''rusted'' iron is red orange and ''rusted'' copper is green blue and he wasnt sure but now it seems i was right =D

  9. @LedKenji666 I guess some of the alkaline metals react with oxygen in the air more readily. For example sodium. So I wonder if an animal could utilise sodium for oxygen transfer! I guess sodium based blood would be orange, because the colour of the blood would be the same as the metal oxide? its really interesting when you think about it.

  10. @danagol1985 EDIT: Not orange, grey rather. (I was thinking of ionised sodium, when it is used in street lamp bulbs!)

  11. if i replace my the iron in my blood with hemocyanin does my blood get blue and i will get tired very fast or will i just simply die?

  12. @gaswerti Well, for starters, you will die if you replace the iron in your blood with anything. Secondly, your venous blood is blue. And I think you meant to ask about replacing hemoglobin with hemocyanin, in which case you would be a crab, and yes, you would grow tired quickly. Cool question.

  13. started checking out my old comments just now… you're comment made me laugh out loud 😀 "in which case you would be a crab" anyway thanks for replying… thanking you only a year late

  14. Because it reacts with the chemicals in your body and becomes correded/oxdized. The green you see is the copper oxide. Lots of people believe it is good for you to absorb it through your skin.

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