# Copper is an element that is used in electrical wires. What is the smallest unit of copper that still maintains the characteristics of copper?

May 14, 2017

By definition, for copper $Z = 29. \ldots \ldots$

#### Explanation:

So we could oxidize a single atom up to a multi-charged cation.........

$C u + \Delta \rightarrow C {u}^{29 +} + 29 {e}^{-}$

Of course we would need a LOT of energy to do this, and so the equation is (HIGHLY!) physically unreasonable. The ion still has $Z = 29$ (manifestly), and this is the smallest such copper particle.

Typical oxidation states of copper are $C {u}^{+ I}$, and $C {u}^{+ I I}$, $\text{cuprous}$ and $\text{cupric}$ ions.