The element copper has the chemical formula or symbol Cu. This chemical symbol originates from the Latin word “cuprum,” which means “of the Cyprus island.” The atomic number for copper is 29, and it is a member of group 11 on the periodic table.
People have used copper for thousands of years. Nearly 7,000 years ago, people began to extract and refine this metal from ores. Some ores that contain copper are cuprite, chalcocite, malachite and covellite. In modern times, copper comes from ore deposits in countries such as the United States and Peru. The uses of copper, its alloys and its compounds are extensive. The brass alloy is used to make screws and musical instruments. Similarly, plumbing pipes, wires, jewelry and coins are made from copper. The hydrated copper sulfate compound is utilized as an algicide and in agriculture.