An introduction to geology
An introduction to geology

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

An introduction to geology

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.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371