For these cabling fun facts, we're going to focus on the popular material copper. Copper being one of the first metals to ever be discovered, has been around since the bronze age (3100BC - 300BC). During these early centuries, copper was utilized for tools, medicine, brass objects, weapons and much more.
Starting out with the basics, what is copper? Copper is a chemical element that uses the symbol "Cu" and has an atomic number of 29. The material is soft, malleable and has very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Copper is one of the only metals that emerge in nature in its usable metallic form. This is why our early ancestors discovered it as early as 8000 B.C. and why we began to see it utilized worldwide by as early as 3000 B.C. Being used for most of humanity's recorded history, copper has become an irreplaceable material in almost every corner of the world.
1. The Romans transformed copper and were the ones who gave copper its name. They called it "aes cyprium" (ore from Cyprus) because most copper came from Cyprus during Rome's climb to power. Later on, the name was modified to "cuprum," from which we have our modern-day "copper."
2. The scrolls of the dead sea that were found in Israel were all written on brittle parchment except for one, which was recorded on copper. This piece of copper didn't have any religious texts on it, but it did hint at treasures from ancient times that have yet to be found.
3. Copper has excellent conductivity, which is extremely useful in the field of medicine. Doctors and surgeons' tools are copper coated, enabling the scalpels to be heated up, making them self-cauterizing. Self-cauterizing is essential in a large number of medical operations as it stops bleeding quickly and effectively.
4. Copper is one of the most conductive materials in the world and is used throughout many different types of buildings. Every year, lightning strikes thousands of buildings worldwide, and copper has been used as a lightning conductor to stop any external damage to the infrastructure.
5. Thousands of years ago, copper was used for medical remedies. The Greeks, Romans, Aztecs and Egyptians used copper to treat different diseases. The Hippocrates (Greek Doctors) were well known for using copper to treat serious wounds and skin irritations. The Romans catalogued numerous medicinal practices for treating diseases, while the Aztecs used it to help with sore throats. Lastly, the Persians and Indians used copper for boils, eye infections and venereal ulcers.
6. Many tools in different industries today are built using copper alloys. The copper alloys don't produce any sparks, making them essential in hazardous and potentially explosive areas that could ignite volatile materials. These tools are also non-magnetic and corrosion-resistant.
7. Trains are another application that requires high levels of copper. Each high-speed train uses about 20 tonnes of copper-containing components, specifically in the drive motors and transformers. The high-speed trains place a significant emphasis on the overhead wiring systems that supply current. Special copper alloys have been developed to maintain the required contact as trains increase in speed.
Copper has been around for thousands of years and was one of the first metals that mankind could use effectively. From the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Aztecs and maybe even earlier, humans have relied on this unique material for weapons, tools, and daily items. Being used worldwide in countless applications, copper and copper alloys have become one of the most relied on materials currently available. With the ability to be recycled multiple times over, most copper used today is made from old recycled products. Even today, with everything we have at our disposal, this simple material is still an essential part of the way we live.
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