Copper, a material to (re) discover

Copper, a material to (re) discover

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The first metal worked by man, copper is today rediscovered for its multiple properties. Aesthetic, malleable, conductive, 100% recyclable and even antibacterial, it is at the heart of many innovations that affect everyday life.

Copper in eco-innovation

Influenced by the need for production that consumes less energy, time and raw materials, industrial designers are betting on raw materials requiring little transformation and guaranteeing many intrinsic qualities such as recycled paper, carbon and copper. Thus, the Interior Innovation Award 2012 has just selected for the winner the "Copper lamp" by Sebastien Goldschmidtboeing, a young German designer. In this creation with a minimalist design, the concern for economy of means is obvious. Copper, chosen both for its electrical conductivity and for its shine, ideal for reflecting light, plays the role of switch (a long rod allows you to adjust the light intensity), foot and lampshade . Another example: Peugeot's "Onyx" concept car, which highlights raw materials, unlike classic car codes. Copper, very malleable, is deposited in sheets on the fenders of the car, creating a striking contrast to the matt carbon. Its recyclability echoes the recycled newspapers that were used to compose the dashboard. Finally no varnish, painting or special maintenance is necessary on copper. The patina acts as a natural protection and guarantees an evolving aesthetic.

Copper, an anti-bacterial material

Numerous scientific studies and experiments have demonstrated the effectiveness of copper against bacteria in hospitals. An environment equipped with copper surfaces can reduce the risk of contracting a nosocomial disease by 40%. Discoveries are now applicable to everyday objects. The objective is to permanently eliminate the bacteria and germs that colonize the objects affected on a daily basis and prevent infections such as the flu or gastroenteritis. In this area, elements such as the computer keyboard come at the head of the sources of contamination. Thanks to the antibacterial properties of copper, a keyboard made of this metal is self-disinfecting, eradicating between 90% and 100% of bacteria in a few minutes. Likewise, supermarket carts and mobile phones are nests for bacteria. The direct impact could be significant: it is estimated that 80% of infections are transmitted by contact with contaminated surfaces.

Copper becomes fabric

Thanks to its malleability, copper lends itself perfectly to the weaving process. One of the first designers to seize this opportunity was the Frenchwoman Sophie Mallebranche, specialized in the creation and production of metallic fabrics based on copper. "Thanks to the 900 nuances of copper, we can fully free the chromatic fields." Beyond its decorative character, copper fabric is also coveted for its ability to block electromagnetic waves. The copper and silver composite fabric creates a "Faraday cage" effect. The copper fabric is a serious avenue for reducing the exposure of people to the waves, both in the home, in the form of curtains, and in professional circles: metro drivers, hospital staff or EDF agents, for example. Copper fabric is also of interest to other advanced industries: in aviation, which is lighter and more conductive, it could replace certain cables. To know more :