Copper is one of the oldest known metals. It has great strength and durability. Copper is also:

• A good conductor of heat and electricity often used to make heating components and electrical cables.

• Flexible and resistant to rust, often used to make water pipes and roofs.

• Easily recycled and can be used to make a range of very strong alloys.

Copper alloys are being developed all the time for use in technology. For example, car radiators made from copper alloys have been found to be more efficient than those made from aluminium, and can help save on fuel costs.

Brass is made from copper and zinc. Brass is an attractive metal and is often used to make decorative items like buttons. Brass is also very hard wearing and ideal for machine parts.

Bronze is copper alloyed with tin. It is highly resistant to corrosion and capable of producing a resonant sound when hit. For this reason bronze is ‘cast’ to make statues and bells.

Cupronickel is made from copper and nickel. It is shiny, resilient and easy to mould. Many silver-coloured coins are made of this alloy.

Gunmetal is copper alloyed with tin and zinc. It is often used in ship fittings (such as anchor chains) because it is highly resistant to the corrosive effects of salt water.

Bells are often cast from bronze.

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