Copper in the Home
Copper is essential to modern living. Brass (an alloy of copper and zinc) is also important. There are many uses of copper and brass in the home. The picture below shows 18 of these uses. Try to find all of them (some of them appear more than once). Don’t forget that most of the copper in a house is hidden.
Properties that Make Copper Useful in the Home
- good electrical conductivity
- good thermal conductivity
- corrosion resistance
- ease of jointing
- attractive colour
You can match these properties with some of copper’s applications in a typical home. Take a look at the picture below. How many applications of copper can you spot?
In the questions below, you can download a spreadsheet highlighting some key uses of copper and choose, from a range of properties, the ones you think are most useful for each application.
Ease of jointing has been excluded because it is necessary for every application!
Did You Know?
30% of copper is used in non-conductive applications, such as the delivery of safe and clean drinking water.
Click here to download an Excel spreadsheet on which you can do the tasks below. Note you will need to click ‘Enable Editing’ before you can begin ticking boxes.
- Tick boxes in the table to show which properties of copper make it so useful for each application.
- One of the columns will be correct for every application in the house. Which one is it?
Brass is a decorative metal. What is engraved on this famous letter box? (Courtesy of the BBC.)
Copper pipe joints can be soldered or brazed. This finalist in the SkillPLUMB competition shows how it is done.
Printing of copper circuit tracks directly onto thin flexible plastic is making small, lightweight and very low cost electronics possible. Copper is only deposited on the tracks. This minimises waste. (Courtesy of Conductiveinkject.)