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Copper[Cu] – Element Details, History, Atomic Structure, Facts, Properties, Electronic Configuration, Atomic Spectrum, Uses.


27th element of Periodic table is Copper with atomic number 29, symbol Cu, atomic weight 63.546. Copper is a Transition Metal element. Copper is a Face Centered Cubic structure and Copper color.

History of Copper

The element Copper was discovered in year 9000 BCE in Middle East. Copper was first isolated by Anatolia in 6000 BCE. The name Copper derived from English word (Latin cuprum).

How to Locate Copper on Periodic Table

Elements are arranged according to atomic number on periodic table. It starts with 1 from top left and ends at bottom right with atomic number 118. The position of Copper is 29th element and group 11 on the periodic table. 

Copper Facts

Atomic Symbol
Atomic Number
Atomic Weight
Transition Metal
Group in Periodic Table
Group Name
Copper family
Block in Periodic Table
Period in Periodic Table
Electronic Configuration
[Ar] 3d10 4s1
Melting Point
1357.77 K
Boiling Point
3200 K
Electronic Shell Structure
[2, 8, 18, 1]
CAS Number

Copper Atomic Structure and Orbital Properties

Copper atoms have 29 electrons and the electronic shell structure is [2, 8, 18, 1] with Atomic Term Symbol (Quantum Numbers) 2S1/2.

Element Properties

Atomic Number
Number of Protons
Mass Number
Number of Neutrons
Shell structure (Electrons per energy level)
[2, 8, 18, 1]
Electron Configuration
[Ar] 3d10 4s1
Valence Electrons
3d10 4s1
Oxidation State
-2, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4
Atomic Term Symbol (Quantum Numbers)

Atomic Structure of Copper

Atomic Radius
145 pm (1.45 Å)
Atomic Radius Empirical
135 pm (1.35 Å)
Atomic Volume
7.124 cm3/mol
Covalent Radius
138 pm (1.38 Å)
Van der Waals Radius
140 pm
Neutron Cross Section
Neutron Mass Absorption

Crystal Structure of Copper

The solid state structure of Copper is Face Centered Cubic.

The Crystal structure can be described in terms of its unit Cell. The unit Cells repeats itself in three dimensional space to form the structure.

The unit cell is represented in terms of its lattice parameters, which are the lengths of the cell edges Lattice Constants (a[361.49 pm]b[361.49 pm] and c[361.49 pm]) and the angles between them Lattice Angles (alpha[π/2], beta[π/2] and gamma[π/2])

The positions of the atoms inside the unit cell are described by the set of atomic positions ( xi, yi, zi) measured from a reference lattice point.

The symmetry properties of the crystal are described by the concept of space groups. All possible symmetric arrangements of particles in three-dimensional space are described by the 230 space groups (219 distinct types, or 230 if chiral copies are considered distinct.

Space Group Name

Space Group Number

Crystal Structure

Number of atoms per unit cell

Fm_ 3m


Face Centered Cubic


Ground State Electronic Configuration of Copper- neutral Copper atom

Abbreviated electronic configuration of Copper

The ground state abbreviated electronic configuration of Neutral Copper atom is [Ar] 3d10 4s1. The portion of Copper configuration that is equivalent to the noble gas of the preceding period, is abbreviated as [Ar]. For atoms with many electrons, this notation can become lengthy and so an abbreviated notation is used. This is important as it is the Valence electrons 3d10 4s1, electrons in the outermost shell that determine the chemical properties of the element.

Unabbreviated electronic configuration of neutral Copper

Complete ground state electronic configuration for the Copper atom, Unabbreviated electronic configuration

1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s1

Electrons are filled in atomic orbitals as per the order determined by the Aufbau principle, Pauli Exclusion Principle and Hund’s Rule.

  • As per the Aufbau principle the electrons will occupy the orbitals having lower energies before occupying higher energy orbitals. According to this principle, electrons are filled in the following order: 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, 3d, 4p, 5s, 4d, 5p, 6s, 4f, 5d, 6p, 7s, 5f, 6d, 7p…
  • The Pauli exclusion principle states that a maximum of two electrons, each having opposite spins, can fit in an orbital.
  • Hund’s rule states that every orbital in a given subshell is singly occupied by electrons before a second electron is filled in an orbital

Regulatory and Health - Health and Safety Parameters and Guidelines

DOT Hazard Class
DOT Numbers
NFPA Fire Rating
NFPA Hazards
Autoignition Point
NFPA Health Rating
NFPA Reactivity Rating

Copper Chemical Properties : Copper Ionization Energies and electron affinity

118.4 kJ/mol

Copper Physical & Elastic Properties

8.92 g/cm3(when liquid at m.p density is $8.02 g/cm3)
Molar Volume
7.124 g/cm3
Young Modulus
Shear Modulus
48 GPa
Bulk Modulus
48 GPa
Poisson Ratio

Copper Electrical Properties

Electrical Conductivity
59000000 S/m
1.7e-8 m Ω
Superconducting Point

Copper Magnetic Properties

Magnetic Type
Curie Point
Mass Magnetic Susceptibility
Molar Magnetic Susceptibility
Volume Magnetic Susceptibility

Copper Thermal Properties

Melting Point
1357.77 K (1084.62°C, 1984.3159999999996 °F)
Boiling Point
3200 K (2926.85°C, 5300.33 °F)
Critical Temperature
Superconducting Point

Use of Copper

Copper is basically used in electrical equipments like wiring and motors. It is also used in construction like roofing and plumbing and industrial machinery.

106. Seaborgium [Sg]