The many uses of copper: an essential material for everyday life

Copper is one of the most versatile materials on the planet and, throughout history, it has played a key part in bringing about change, inventions and new opportunities across society. 

Many industries have come to rely on copper. In fact, it’s the third most used metal in the world after iron and aluminium. However, despite its ubiquity, the everyday uses of copper remain a mystery to many people.

We’ve created an informative video to show all the uses of this versatile material, watch below to find out more.

Learn more about the uses of copper below.

Copper uses


What is copper used for?

Despite being aware of copper’s aptitude as a plumbing and construction material, many people are less aware of how essential copper actually is to everyday life. From homes to hospitals, here’s how copper is used throughout the world today.

Uses of copper in the home

In your home, you’ll find copper pipes for plumbing running through your walls, supplying water from your boiler to your bathroom and kitchen, powering your shower and providing hot water to your taps. 

As well as being the sustainable choice for plumbing systems, copper’s properties make the material an everyday essential around the rest of your home. Copper wiring can be found in household electronics and appliances such as your kettle, microwave, oven and television.

Copper is also a key material for heating homes, not just in traditional central heating systems but in sustainable heating alternatives such as air source heat pumps. Many heat pumps are made with copper pipes because copper is a superior conductor of heat. 

Uses of copper in the office

Copper piping is as essential in our office spaces as it is in our homes, as it has the capability to help heat or cool large spaces. When supplying hot water to busy offices, copper is chosen because of its durability, reducing the risk of leaks and other plumbing problems.  

As well as being found in the pipework in the ceiling above your office, copper is used in the electrical wiring of computers, printers, and other devices that are vital in offices. Put simply, we wouldn’t be able to work without it! 

Uses of copper in hospitals

In addition to our homes and office spaces, copper’s properties make the metal an essential material for medical gas systems in hospitals. It’s one of the only materials trusted to supply medical grade gases, such as oxygen, to patients’ bedsides with no leaks or contamination. 

Furthermore, copper has natural anti-microbial properties which help protect the health of patients, with studies showing that the material can reduce infection rates by 58%. In this way, medical copper pipes are key to preventing contamination and bacterial growth. 

Uses of copper in transportation 

Outside of the home, copper is essential in both cars and public transport due to its high conductivity and resistance to corrosion. Copper wiring can be found in electric car chargers and motors as well as your car’s brake lines and cooling engine. 

In addition, copper is vital in keeping public transport running, powering our train lines and being used in the brake lines of trains and buses. The antimicrobial properties of copper also make it the material of choice for high-touch surfaces on public transport. 

Uses of copper in renewable energy systems

Copper is playing an increasingly important role in the transition to clean energy. The material’s superior electrical and thermal conductivity make it especially suited to renewable energy systems that need to efficiently transmit electricity with minimal impact. 

These properties are why copper is so widely used in the electrical motors and transformers that power wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, battery storage and other key renewable energy systems.

Learn more about copper and renewable energy below.

Copper in renewable energy


The benefits of copper as an everyday material

Copper’s widespread usage across the home, office, and medical environments, as well as within innovations, is thanks to its ability to be infinitely recycled, without any loss of performance or properties. 

Copper has been recycled and reused for as long as the material itself has been in use and there is a fully developed scrap collecting infrastructure which has existed for centuries. This ability ensures it will continue to be an everyday essential for generations to come. 

From homes and hospitals to transport and offices, copper is the material of the future. Thanks to its superior quality, safety, and ability to be infinitely recycled, it’s playing a vital part in our everyday lives, creating a more sustainable future for everyone.

To learn more about the everyday uses of copper, watch our educational video.

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