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An introduction to geology
An introduction to geology

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2.11 Copper

In this section, you will focus on one of the elements found in your mobile phone, copper, and find out why it is one of the most important metals used in the modern world.

In a world dominated by electronics, copper is a hugely important element. Copper (Cu) is used as a conductor in cabling and electronics due to its excellent:

  • electrical conductivity
  • tensile strength
  • ductility and malleability (meaning it bends rather than snaps)
  • resistance to corrosion
  • low thermal expansion
  • high thermal conductivity.

It is therefore found in almost all electronic devices (including whatever you’re using to read this) and is a very important part of your mobile phone.

There are two main geological sources for the main copper deposits:

  1. porphyry ore deposits
  2. submarine massive sulphide deposits.
Described image
Figure 2.11 Copper crystals

You’ll learn about both types in the next few sections.