What Color Is Copper? Types And Shades Of This Antique Metal | Kidadl

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What Color Is Copper? Types And Shades Of This Antique Metal

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Copper color can be found widely in nature.

There are many plants and materials present in the color copper in the natural world. It is often interpreted as a shade of brown color but the copper color code, #B87333, is different from brown. On the color wheel it comes between red and orange.

We all know the true color of copper is reddish-brown in appearance and it's not uncommon to look at. Copper is a naturally occurring element on earth. It is present everywhere, be it the earth's crust, oceans, lakes, and even organisms. If you search for it, you may find it is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with high electrical energy and thermal conductivity. It has luster. You may also find that it is a very versatile and durable material. It can also be fully recycled. Hence it is used in making electrical wiring. Ideally silver would be a great conductor but since it is too expensive, copper is used. It is not easy to lead a life without copper around us since it may have small, still, many many uses.

Copper may be the first metal to be discovered and manipulated by humans following gold, silver, and other noble metals. Copper has had a huge impact on the history of humans and ever since it has been an important metal to humankind.

Copper used to be the go-to metal when a combination of strength and durability was required.  The reason being it is that it is able to resist corrosion, copper and copper alloys were used for functional and decorative purposes during the middle age and even continued till the industrial revolution. Copper usage dates back as far as 10,000 years. Copper can be used to make a large number of useful alloys, all thanks to its physical and chemical properties. Some of the most common alloys of copper are as follows-

Brass: It is probably the most well known alloy of copper. It is a mixture of copper with zinc. It is corrosion-resistant and extremely smooth. It is also very strong, ductile, and hygienic. Brass is used in places where corrosion resistance and low friction are required. Locks, hinges, bearings, valves, sockets are some of the places where brass can be seen being put to use.

Bronze: It is an alloy consisting of copper along with 12-12.5% tin. Sometimes other metals such as aluminum, magnesium, nickel and zinc can also be used in it. This results in an alloy that is stronger as opposed to if copper were to be used alone. The archaeological period during which bronze was a worldwide alloy is known as the 'Bronze Age'. Thousands of artifacts made out of bronze have been discovered and studied around the world. A large number of these bronze artifacts date back to the Bronze Age.

After reading all about this metal-red brown color, check our other related articles on what color is bronze and what color is aubergine.

What are the different shades of copper? 

The copper color can come in a vast variety of shades but the true color of copper is essentially reddish-brown in appearance.

A shade is different from a color. Color is a very general term that is used to describe the very hue, tint or tone that we can see. Hue is basically the dominant color that is the most obvious. A shade is a mixture of pure colors to which black is added, to make them differ in brightness and depth.

Different variations of copper can be observed in our environment. Pale copper, copper red, penny copper are the forms of copper that we see in coins in the form of penny and rosy copper are some of the common shades that we can see for this color.

What is the color of copper metal?

Copper is usually seen as a reddish brownish-colored lustrous metal but pure copper is not always reddish-brown color.

If its surface is freshly buffed it gives a slightly pinkish or rose gold sort of appearance. Although it tarnishes quickly and goes back to being the 'copper color' that we all know so well.

Close up of thin copper sheets roll

Copper Color vs Bronze

Copper is an element on its own while bronze is an alloy made from copper and tin. This is why copper and bronze differ in color and tone.

Even though both bronze and copper colors fall under the family of yellow, orange and red, yet these two colors can be distinguished upon close examination.

Since bronze is an alloy of tin, it has a slightly deep yellow-brown tone to it. Bronze can be described as a dull gold color. On the contrary, as mentioned earlier copper is a reddish-brown metal that has a pink tone to it. The color of copper can be best described as a combination of deep rose gold mixed with brown. This is the reason why copper goes extremely well with brown, black, and all sorts of natural tones and colors. Golds, greens, and bright jewel tones also go beautifully with copper.

What are the colors of different types of copper?

In general, copper is seen as a natural reddish-brown metal. Due to copper being a transition metal, it can also form compounds of different colors, depending on the other elements that are being used in it. This is the reason why copper is very popular among observers.

When copper is oxidized, it changes its color. Oxidation refers to a type of change or corrosion where often the copper layer present on the surface comes in contact with atmospheric oxygen and water moisture. These changes cause a formation of a green-colored layer over a period of time. This green layer is obviously the result of oxidation and is known as 'Patina'. Corrosion is a result of a chemical reaction. Hence it is important to keep copper open and away from exposed water, moisture content. The patina formation can easily be reversed by performing a reduction reaction. The Statue of Liberty is a good example of patina formation. The statue itself was not always green, although its outermost layer mostly consists of copper. This copper oxidized over time. This is the reason why the Statue of Liberty ends up looking blue-green. All thanks to the patina coating formed on it. Another example can be the copper bottles we use at home turning green from the inside.

Copper compounds with sulfates, nitrates, and chloride exist in blue color. They can be solutions or crystalline in nature. Copper’s oxide is black-colored solid and copper hydroxide is a precipitate that is blue. When copper is exposed to the air at a very high temperature it tends to create copper oxide. The color of copper oxide is red. Finally, copper when reacting with sulfur creates copper sulfate and the color of copper sulfate is blue.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what color is copper then why not take a look at what color is garnet, or what color is espresso.

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