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What are the advantages and disadvantages of copper?

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Quick Answer

Copper is the metal of choice for conductive wiring and circuits, but has become more expensive over the years. Copper is used for a variety of artistic purposes. The high price of copper is only expected to rise.

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Full Answer

While overhead electrical wiring generally uses aluminum due to its low cost, copper is the metal of choice for use in electrical components. Computers contain a large amount of copper, and copper recycling helps ensure that the total supply of copper does not fall unnecessarily. Copper's high price has even led to copper theft, which has been on the rise for years.

Copper is prized for its aesthetic value. Many buildings were adorned with copper finishes in the past, but its use on buildings has fallen out of favor. Over time, copper develops a green patina. Some artists appreciate this look, but those who do not need to ensure that their art is finished on a regular basis to prevent its formation.

Copper is also the primary component of bronze, which played an important historical role. Bronze has a number of practical qualities, but it has largely been replaced by steel, which is stronger and cheaper to produce. Bronze has been relegated to artistic use.

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