Errah is a bookwormy and logophilic writer and science & technology teacher. He often writes about scientific ideas, theories, and research.
What Is Copper Sulphate?
Copper sulphate, also known as copper sulfate, blue vitriol, Roman vitriol or bluestone, is an inorganic chemical compound made up of an atom of copper, an atom of sulfur, and four atoms of oxygen. Its chemical formula is written as CuSO4.
Pure copper sulphate usually exists as a white or gray salt, powder, or crystal. When hydrated or comes in contact with moisture, this material changes color into blue and becomes copper sulphate pentahydrate (CuSO4 • 5H2O). Although copper sulphate pentahydrate only exists when CuSO4 is hydrated, it is more common compared to pure copper sulphate because this substance is manufactured in the presence of water.
Most copper sulphate is created in laboratories. It is produced when the cupric oxide is treated with sulfuric acid or when metallic copper is treated with sulfuric acid.
Other Properties of Copper Sulphate
Pure copper sulphate has a density of 3.60 g/cm3 and a molecular mass of 159.60 g/mol. It has an orthorhombic crystal structure. It dissolves easily in water, even at temperatures as low as 10 degrees Celsius. It does not combust in the fire. Its common form is the copper sulphate pentahydrate.
When copper suphate pentahydrate is heated to 150 degrees Celsius, it decomposes to pure or anhydrous copper sulphate. And when heated to 650 degrees Celsius, it breaks down into two components: cupric oxide (CuO) and sulfur trioxide (SO3).
How Do You Make a Copper Sulphate Solution?
- 2 lengths of copper wire
- sulfuric acid
- 6-volt battery
- glass container like a beaker
How Do You Obtain Sulfuric Acid?
Sulfuric acid can be purchased in the store as a drain cleaning. It is also available on Amazon. Sulfuric acid can also be obtained from an old automobile battery (battery acid). The liquid inside the battery is sulfuric acid diluted in water.
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- Be aware of the dangers of sulfuric acid. This chemical is extremely corrosive and can cause tissue corrosion. When this substance is ingested, or its fume is inhaled, it is extremely dangerous. When working with this chemical, use safety equipment.
- Pour 30 milliliters of water into the glass container, followed by sulfuric acid. The amount of sulfuric acid varies depending on its kind. If you are using drain cleaning as your sulfuric acid, measure it out in 5 milliliters; if you are using battery acid, increase the amount to 15 milliliters.
- Take the wires and coil them on one side while leaving the other side uncoiled and long enough to connect to the battery. Place them in the solution of water and sulfuric acid. The coiled side should be immersed in the solution, while the uncoiled side should not be. Ensure that the wires do not come into contact with one another so that the electric current will flow in the correct direction.
- Connect the wires to the 6-volt battery. One wire should be connected to the positive terminal and the other to the negative terminal.
- You will notice that the wire connected to the battery's negative terminal begins to bubble, while the wire connected to the battery's positive terminal begins to dissolve. You will also notice that the liquid solution is turning blue as the copper wire, water, and sulfuric acid begin to react and form copper sulphate. Allow it to stand for several minutes until the liquid turns dark blue, and the copper, sulfuric acid, and water completely react with one another.
- After that, remove the battery and take out the wires from the solution.
- Finally, boil the solution until the excess water and sulfuric acid evaporated and separated from the new product, copper sulphate. The copper sulphate will be visible as a crystal.
Applications of Copper Sulphate
Copper sulphate is primarily used in agriculture as a pesticide and herbicide, as well as a fertilizer. This substance is used to treat copper deficiency in plants. It improves soil quality and provides copper for plant growth. It is also effective at controlling bacteria, fungi, molds, other microorganisms, insects, snails, and weeds that harm crops.
It is also useful as a cleaning agent. It is used to disinfect swimming pools, clean bathrooms, and unclog drains and pipes caused by mosses. In medicine, it is used as a powder to treat athlete's foot (tinea pedis).
Specific gravity, a copper sulphate solution, is used to test blood for anemia. The blood is tested by dropping it into a solution. Blood with sufficient hemoglobin sinks quickly, while insufficient hemoglobin either does not sink or sinks slowly. Researchers are currently investigating this compound as an antidote to see if it can cure phosphorus poisoning.
Other applications include creating a blue color for glass, pots, and fireworks, binding papers to make books, rayon production, and acting as a water-resistance agent in various products.
Dangers of the Substance
Copper sulphate can be dangerous if it gets into our eyes, is inhaled, or is ingested. Copper sulphate is extremely hazardous to the eyes. It has the potential to burn the eyelids, cornea, and other parts of the eye. It can also cause eye opacification, scarring, or clouding of the cornea, all of which impair vision. It can also cause conjunctivitis, fluid buildup, and inflammation.
Inhaling its dust can cause cough, sore throat, chest pain, and injure respiratory tracts. It can cause mucous membrane corrosion and nasal septum ulceration. If ingested can cause nausea, headache, vomiting, thirst, and burning pain in the stomach. It can result in limbs dysfunction, pancreatitis, destruction of red blood cells and other blood problems, coma, or even death in severe cases.
Sources of Information
- White Phosphorus Exposure Treatment & Management ... | Med Scape
- View of The Effect of Number of Tests, Hemoglobin Level ... | Philippine Journal of Pathology
- Pesticide Fact Sheet: Copper Sulphate | United States Environmental Protection Agency
- Copper Sulfate General Fact Sheet | National Pesticide Information Center
- Far More Toxic Than Glyphosate: Copper Sulfate, Used by Organic... | Genetic Literacy Project
- Health Benefits of Copper Sulphate | Very Well Health
- Applications: Copper Compounds - Copper Sulphate | Copper Development Association Inc.
- Copper Sulfate - CuSO4 | PubChem/National Library of Medicine
- Copper Sulfate - Structure, Properties, and Uses of CuSO4 | Byjus
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Errah Caunca