Periodic Table


Atomic number: 29
Atomic weight: 63.546
Symbol: Cu
Group number: 11
Electronic configuration: [Ar].3d10.4s1


Copper is one of the most important metals. Copper is reddish with a bright metallic lustre. It is malleable, ductile, and a good conductor of heat and electricity (second only to silver in electrical conductivity). Its alloys, brass and bronze, are very important. Monel and gun metals also contain copper. Apparently the reason that policemen in the USA are nicknamed "cops" or "coppers" is to do with their uniforms which used to have copper buttons.

The most important compounds are the oxide and the sulphate, (blue vitriol).

General information

Discoveror: Known since ancient times
Date discovered:
Discovered at: not known
Meaning of name: From the Latin word "cuprum" meaning the island of "Cyprus"

Physical data

Standard state: solid at 298 K
Colour: copper metallic
Density of solid at ambient temperature/kg m-3: 8920
Molar volume/cm3: 7.11

Radii /pm

Atomic: 145
Covalent (single bond):
Pauling radius for the ion [Cu]-: no data

Valence shell orbital radius maxima (Rmax)
orbital s p d f
radius137.4no data32.5no data


Both values are quoted on the Pauling scale.

Pauling: 1.90
Allred Rochow: 1.75

Crystal Structure

structure: ccp (cubic close-packed)

The following CrystalMaker image represents the solid state structure. For most elements, the most stable allotrope is illustrated. Try WebElements version 2 for interactive virtual reality and CHIME images.


Temperatures (/K)

melting point: 1357.77
boiling point: 3200

Enthalpies /kJ mol-1

fusion: 13.1
vaporization: 300

single bond enthalpies:
Cu-F Cu-Cl Cu-Br Cu-I Cu-Cu
no data no data no data 192 176.52

Ionization enthalpies /kJ mol-1

Number Enthalpy


This section gives some data for naturally occurring isotopes.
Nominal mass Accurate mass % natural abundance
63Cu62.9295989 (17)69.17 (3)
65Cu64.9277929 (20)30.83 (3)

Further Information

Copyright 1997 Mark Winter
Department of Chemistry at the University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7HF, England.

The current version of this document is at http://www.shef.ac.uk/~chem/web-elements-I/Cu.html