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Copper has been utilized by tribes and civilizations for over 10,000 years. One of the earliest metals used by mankind, copper has steadily continued its dominance as one of the world’s most useful metals.
Copper can acquire new characteristics when alloyed with other metals, such as zinc (to form brass), aluminum or tin (to form bronzes) or nickel, for use in highly specialized applications. It can be shaped, molded and bent into various forms including sheets and wire which are used in a variety of applications. Copper is one of the most recycled of all metals making it a highly sustainable metal of choice.
The global demand for copper continues to grow from emerging economies including China and India. Both countries are rapidly urbanizing by improving infrastructure and upgrading power grids as well as building more homes, automobiles, and appliances. In the last 50 years, the world’s refined usage has surged by 300 percent which can be attributed to the metal’s extensive list of functionalities and benefits.
|Construction||Copper and its alloys are used for plumbing, taps, valves, fittings, façades, canopies, roofing, doors and window frames.|
|Electronic Parts & Communications||An essential component of energy efficient generators, motors, transformers, power cables, renewable energy production systems, domestic subscriber lines, wide and local area networks, mobile phones and personal computers.|
|Transportation||All major forms of transportation depend on copper to perform critical functions including boats; electric and hybrid vehicles; new generation airplanes and trains.|
|Machinery and Equipment||Copper alloys are used for gears, bearings, turbine blades, heat exchange equipment, pressure vessels, vats, tanks, piping exposed to seawater, propellers, oil platforms and coastal power stations.|
|General Products||Copper-based coins last 10, 20 and 50 times longer than paper bills. Other products that use copper include computers, electrical appliances, cookware, brassware, locks and keys.|
|Copper inhibits the growth of harmful pathogens such as bacteria, moulds, algae, fungi, and viruses. Doorknobs and plates exploit copper’s biostatic properties to help prevent the transfer of disease and microbes|
Gold is referred to as a precious metal; a classification of metals that are considered to be rare or have a high economic value. Humans have fashioned gold into decorations and jewelry since as early as 4,000 BC.
The scarcity and beauty of this element has made it both a valuable commodity and investment vehicle throughout the history of humans. Gold is used in a wide range of technologies which can be attributed to its unique technical properties. It is both highly conductive, third to silver and copper, and resistant to corrosion. It is also highly malleable and ductile making it easy to physically manipulate into wire or sheets.
Purchases of gold by central banks have increased in 2011, reinforcing gold’s significant role as a reserve asset. The jewelry sector saw a steady rise during the first quarter of 2011 with the demand increasing by 7% in comparison to the same quarter of 2010. India and China will continue to lead the demand for gold as it is viewed as not just a commodity but a vital component of their cultural and religious traditions. The global demand for gold in the form of jewelry, as an investment or within technology is expected to continue to grow in 2012 and beyond.
|Jewelry||Over 60% of the world’s supply of gold is manufactured in various forms of jewellery.|
|Electronics||Gold is the material of choice for telecommunications, information technology, wiring, connectors, circuit boards, contacts and other critical applications that require high performance and safety.|
|Medicine||Use of gold in medicine and dentistry dates back thousands of years. Recently, gold has been used in the treatment of cancers, treatment of facial nerve paralysis, as an implant for microsurgery of the ear, and as a vaccine. Gold is used in dental applications as it is bio-compatible, malleable, and resistant to corrosion.|
|Nanotechnology||Gold appears differently on a nano-scale; the particles are a deep crimson red or light blue and also become reactive. The unusual optical properties of these particles have found uses in various diagnostic devices.|
Reflective gold-coated plastic film protects essential equipment from intense solar radiation and heat. Astronauts’ helmets also have a layer of gold on their helmets to defend against lethal doses of radiation
when working in space.
Gold is used as a lubricating material, a coating on architectural glass, in fuel cells, jet engines and other
high-tech applications by engineers.