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Difference Between Steel and Copper

copper-pdSteel vs Copper

Steel is a metal alloy, whereas Copper occurs naturally, as one of the few metals that exists as an element in its natural form in the world. Steel consists of iron and varying amounts of carbon; on the other hand, copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu, and atomic number 29. Steel alloy is made up of two or more elements, and it contains iron and carbon, or other metals. The difference between steel and copper is bacterial corrosion. Copper is resistant to corrosion in underground environments, and steel can rust. Copper will corrode in moist air, slowly, and darkens forming a layer of copper oxide. Steel, with more carbon and iron in it, will also rust in moist air. Copper is a high conductor, and very popular for thermal and electrical conductivity. Steel is also a good conductor, but copper’s conductivity is many times higher than steel.

Copper is a ductile metal, and pure copper is soft, malleable, nonmagnetic and non-sparking, whereas steel is magnetic, and some of its forms can be manipulated to make a variety of shapes and forms. Copper is a constituent of various metal alloys, and steel is itself an alloy. Common usage of copper is in military applications, weaponry, electrical wiring, plumbing and heating applications, piping, cooking utensils and for coinage. Steel is a construction material, and mostly used for making steel structures, steel doors and handles, nails and bolts, automobiles, frames, furniture, crockery and utensils. The biological role of copper is that the human body contains about 1.4 to 2.1 mg per kg of body weight. A copper deficiency or an accumulation in body can both often produce diseases. It is also found in various enzymes. Copper toxicity can also occur if copper cookware is corroded. Steel, when alloyed with chromium or other metals, is also used for surgical implants, such as metal in a metal hip replacement, and dental implants. It is also used as tabletops and kitchen accessories because of its hygienic properties. Steel is stronger than copper and can bear more fatigue. Copper is ductile, and can be wired into thin, strong and fine wires.

Miscellaneous hazards regarding some of the copper applications are that they are not fire resistant, they can stain clothes, and items washed in water can corrode. Steel is heavier, and its ductility varies greatly. Copper and steel have both been used in coinage. Steel coined in 1943 by the American Government was a disaster, whereas copper is still under use by many countries such as the United State of America, European States, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. Copper is germicidal and has its own unique natural color.


1. Copper exists naturally, as it is an element, whereas steel is an alloy.

2. Although Steel is stronger but Copper is heavier than steel, and both can corrode in a moist environment.
Density : Copper – 8,960 kg/cubic meter
– Cold rolled 8,000  kg/cubic meter
– Carbon       7,760 kg/cubic meter
– Tungsten    8,080 kg/cubic meter
– Stainless     8,000kg/cubic meter

3. Copper is widely used for military, electrical, surgical, wiring and piping applications, while steel is used for building structures, doors and many other industries like automobiles.

4. Steel is not used for coining, whereas copper in coins is still used by many countries around the world.

5. Ductility varies greatly in steel compared to copper, which is a ductile, malleable, nonmagnetic, and non-sparking metal.

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  1. Steel is not heavier than copper. Copper has a density of 8.96 grams per cubic centimeter. Iron, steel’s primary constituent, has a density of 7.87 grams per cubic centimeter.

    • Steel is heavier than copper since is an alloy and can bare more fatigue since it is strong while copper is malleable hence can made to make any shape this show that steel denser than copper

      • Ryan is correct, copper has a higher density than steel.
        For the same volume, it weights more. The posted article is wrong in this regard. Please correct.

        Copper is heavier than steel.

        “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it is what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Mark Twain

      • Density is mass/volume, a cube of copper will have a greater mass than an equal size cube of steel and is therefore more dense.

        • Jeb is correct, Job is not.

          In addition, Google must be using this article in there main headline because now google is saying steel is heavier than copper. Do a main search on google, “Is steel heavier than copper”, this is the first article that shows up and states, “steel is heaver than copper”, INCORRECT! This article needs retracted.

          Prime example, don’t believe everything you read.

  2. Good article written and I agree with most, but unfortunately incorrect on that last part. Copper is more dense than Steel. Strength and hardness does not matter between the two, it’s not part of the calculation. If you have the same volume for both steel and copper, copper is going to weight more.

    Density x Volume = Mass (weight)

    Using a 1.00 in³ cube of steel and copper here is your mass for both.
    (Density: Steel = 0.283 lb/in³, Copper = 0.324 lb/in³)

    Steel Mass = 0.283 x 1.00 = 0.283 lb.
    Copper Mass = 0.324 x 1.00 = 0.324 lb.

  3. Steel was used by the U.S. In 1943 the United States was fully involved in World War 2 and steel was used for coins to make more Cooper available to the war effort. At that point in history the U.S. had not yet become the penny pincher of contemporary Government (pun intended).

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