While humans use copper in many ways, one of the most important is for the piping systems in homes and businesses. Copper provides a long-lasting material that does not rust. It ensures that the water supply in a home remains safe for human consumption. Copper pipes carry the refrigerants in heating and cooling systems to keep homes comfortable.
Copper wiring safely supplies electricity in homes. In the past, construction has attempted to use other metals, such as aluminum, for wiring with disastrous results. Copper wires allow the transmission of power without overheating to cause fires.
Artists use copper in sculptures, statues and other works. With exposure to the elements, it develops a characteristic blue-green patina like that of the Statue of Liberty, which contains over 80 tons of copper sheeting.
The physical characteristics of copper increase its usefulness. Copper is durable and lasts for many years in applications. It is strong and yet relatively light in weight. Its ductile nature allows manufacturers to draw or stretch it into long wires. Its malleability allows them to hammer or roll it into thin sheets without breaking it, according to the U.S. Government Services Administration.
Copper is widely recycled, according to Geology.com. On a worldwide basis, 33 percent of the copper consumed is recycled. Both copper and its alloys melt easily for reuse. Further refinement of scrap copper produces refined copper without losing the physical or chemical properties of the metal.