What Does Oxidized Copper Mean?
Oxidized copper is a specific type of corrosion that is produced during a three-step process where copper oxidizes to copper oxide, then to cuprous or cupric sulfide, and finally to copper carbonate. It results in a green-colored copper layer or patina that forms over time.
Oxidation is one form of metallic corrosion, which is a reaction that occurs during an ionic chemical reaction when oxygen is present on the metal’s surface. During this process, electrons move from the metal to the oxygen molecules. Thereafter there is a generation of negative oxygen ions in the metal, thus leading to the creation of a surface laden with oxide. In the case of copper, this oxidation occurs as a result of the exposure of copper to air, although salt water, acidic compounds and heat can also induce corrosion.
Copper's red-orange color makes it a preferred choice for decorative metalwork, cookware and jewelry. Being pliable and flexible, and a good conductor of heat and electricity, it is often used for electrical wiring. It is also widely used as the main material for copper roofing, gutters and other structural components due to its ability to withstand weathering, which is made possible by its slow corrosion process.
Corrosion of most metals can cause serious damage and become a dangerous hazard if it affects infrastructure objects such as buildings, sewage pipes, ships and water supply pipes. However, copper corrosion is not as destructive because the copper forms a protective outer oxide layer that discourages further corrosion.