Copper has many properties that make it ideal for use in construction. Lighter than lead and low maintenance, it conducts heat and electricity well, is malleable and has a high level of corrosion resistance. This reddish-brown chemical element, which has the symbol Cu and the atomic number 29, is found in ore deposits around the world and has been used by humans since as early as 8000 BCE.
Perfect for pipework
All these properties make copper an ideal material for piping, which is where it is most commonly used within the construction industry. Copper pipes are used to distribute water as part of heating and cooling systems. They can even be used for carrying drinking water because copper does not contain lead, which could contaminate the liquid. The impermeability of copper also means harmful substances outside the pipe cannot get through to contaminate the water.
Copper’s malleable nature means it can be moulded, so it is ideal for creating complex shapes within limited spaces. Joints can be easily soldered and copper pipe connectors and other fittings, such as those offered by https://watkinspowis.co.uk/products/copper-pipe-fittings-and-press-systems/, are widely available to help create strong pipework systems which do not crack under high pressure or heat. Copper piping does not corrode, is fire resistant and can be used indoors and outdoors. Moreover, copper is an eco-friendly material as it can be recycled.
Other uses for copper in construction
The many properties of copper mean it is not just useful for pipework. According to the UK government, it is ‘widely used’ in electrical wiring but is also used in ‘coins, fireworks, switches, plumbing pipework, electroplating and metal alloys.
The malleability of copper, plus its aesthetic appeal, means it is also frequently used as cladding, for gutters and downpipes. Copper cladding uses copper sheets and panels to cover both internal and external spaces, creating a bold and timeless aesthetic. Copper cladding may change colour over time, as the metal adopts a green-blue patina.
Away from construction, copper is used in communication wiring and the production of pesticides, paints and ceramics.