Make Copper Sulfate from Copper and Sulfuric acid (3 ways)

Make Copper Sulfate from Copper and Sulfuric acid (3 ways)


Greetings fellow nerds. In this video we’re going to make copper sulfate for those of you interested in the chemistry. And we’ll show you three ways of doing it. In all these methods we’ll need concentrated sulfuric acid that we already made in a previous video. In the first method. Get a solution of 10 mL of 30% hydrogen peroxide and add 3 mL of concentrated sulfuric acid. It’s going to heat up a lot so be very careful. Now drop in 3 g or so of copper metal. This can be obtained from pipes or wires. The copper metal will dissolve to form copper sulfate. While very simple, this method is not very efficient since a lot of the hydrogen peroxide decomposes. A better method is to use nitric acid as your oxidant. First get 30mL of water and add 3mL of nitric acid along with 5mL of sulfuric acid. Then add in 6 grams or so of copper metal. The reaction will produce both copper sulfate and nitrogen dioxide gas. Because the gas is toxic this must be performed outside or in a fumehood. When it stops fizzing it’s done. Now copper sulfate can also be made electrochemically. Get a solution of 5 mL of sulfuric acid in 30 mL of water. Then place in two copper electrodes made of pipe or wire. Connect each terminal to a six volt battery or five volt power supply. Make sure the electrodes don’t touch. I’m using a battery for demonstration but it’s cheaper in the long run to use a power supply. Alright let me adjust the camera… The negative electrode is generating hydrogen gas which you can see bubbling out on the right electrode. The positive electrode is dissolving into the sulfuric acid as it’s being oxidized by the electric current. The copper sulfate being generated turns the solution a blue color. This process as laid out is not very efficient because some of the copper ions being oxidized into the solution at the positive terminal, is diffusing over to the negative terminal and being reduced back out of solution. But there is actually a simple trick to get around this. This time start with a coiled bunch of wire and place it into the bottom of the container. Put over an insulating tube on the end you’re connecting to the battery. This is to slow the decomposition of this end and make the electrode last longer. Connect it up to the positive terminal of the battery. Now here’s the trick, hang your negative electrode so that it’s a good distance above your positive electrode. You’ll see why in a minute. Connect it up to the battery and fill the cell with the dilute sulfuric acid solution. You only want the negative electrode to bubble for best efficiency. If both electrodes bubble then you’ll need to lower voltage or raise the top electrode even higher until the bottom electrode stops bubbling. As it runs, most of the copper sulfate generated stays near the positive electrode. By preventing the copper sulfate from reaching the negative electrode the conversion efficiency is increased. That’s the trick for making copper sulfate by home electrochemistry. Alright, no matter how you make it, to get your solid copper sulfate you can boil down the mixture. Since there is going to be excess sulfuric acid the mixture will never boil dry. But the the copper sulfate will precipitate out right about… now. Here is the fine copper sulfate powder in sulfuric acid. Just filter it off and recycle the acid to make more copper sulfate. If you want very large crystals, just let the mixture evaporate instead of boiling it and eventually you’ll get these nice large crystals of copper sulfate. We’ll be using copper sulfate in upcoming videos so please subscribe, rate and comment.

100 Comments

  1. It's quite easy to remember how to get bigger crystals formed in a reaction
    "the slower the reaction proceeds, the greater the resultant crystals", because if the ions don't have the time to build up a big crystal they crystallizes right where they are resultiong in many crystal-nuclei.

    (I'm not a nativ english speaker, so pls don't mind if i messed up the grammar or the spelling)

  2. Hi everyone!!
    i would like to see making nickel sulphate from NI-MH battery.
    i think is possible. The NI-MH battery contains Ni(OH)2 (nickel oxyhydroxide)
    I found this equation.
    Ni(OH)2 + H2SO4 = H2O + NiSO4
    can be possible ?

  3. hi can you tell me in industrial level which method is used? and what is the type of oxidant used? also can you give me the detailed chemical reaction and mass balance if  an oxidant is used?

  4. watch out when handling copper sulfate guys; don't touch it without gloves and of course don't put any in your mouth! It has been linked with Alzheimer disease. (copper sulfate in different plant nutrients used by some place around the world) 

  5. How about making copper oxide by heating copper carbonate,and then reacting it with sulfuric acid?
    CuCO3 – – t° – – > CuO + CO2 ^
    CuO + H2SO4 – – -> CuSO4 + H2O

  6. Ok i have a question…. I have been doing the electrolysis method for a few days now and I keep getting a reddish brown rust like substance on my cathode. its really fine particles.  

    anyone?

  7. Not sure if anyone monitors this channel anymore but I wanted to say that the electrolysis trick is brilliant.
    I make 900mls in a few hours this way,  I added to your method by making several of the anode coils a head of time and when one gets eaten away I stick another one down in and let that one run.  I continue to do this until chrisals start forming in the bottom of the flask.  The yield is crazy high!

    So easy and fast.

    As for power supply I now use an ATX power supply, using ALL of the red (5Vdc) tied together. 
    I use a cathode that I made out of a piece of  3/4in copper pipe that I split down the middle and open up like a sheet of copper.  Of coarse I leave a stem on the other end.  Its real easy with a faber  wheel on a dremel.

    there is SOME small amount of oxides that form on the cathode that will settle out.  Its nano particulate so its damn near impossible to filter.  But its easy to get rid of by letting it settle out over night and simply decant off.  The brownish read particulate sticks to the bottom of the flask or jar and can be cleaned off with scrubbing.  I rip a few drops of Sulfuric acid on the bottom, swirl it around and rinse it off clean as crystal. 

    Im very impressed at how fast and easy the electrolysis method is  I could literally run enough in 2 hours to do a bunch of PCB;s or copper plating. 

  8. Awesome, straight forward, informative and easy to understand for people like me who are just beginning to delve into the world of electro biochemistry! Thankyou and I would rate with a double AAAA++++

  9. @lyrison Where is the source of sulfate then? Without it, you can't make cooper sulfate. You most likely made cooper acetate which is also blue in color.

  10. Not very safe when you boil the solution of copperions and sulphuric acid solution. Gases to expect are H2SO4 (gas), SOx (gas), and from the electrolysis you may potentially get CO, O3, SO2 and SO3 gases coming out. Must have good ventilation, and make sure all the sulphate ions have got a copper ion to bond with. The heating near the end, where you vaporize the sulphuric acid is a very scary event, that can cause much damage to lungs and you may need to consult a doctor if the gas is breathed.

  11. Can someone explain how copper loses its 2 electrons in the 2nd method (nitric acid method) to form Cu 2+ and thus form an ionic bond with the SO4 2-  ?

  12. Thank you for sharing your expertise. I appreciate the time you've taken to help people like me learn. I hope you have a beautiful day 😸

  13. How long does it take to make this solution. I left my apparatus for 5 minutes and I can see very very little amounts of blue liquid

  14. I did this with acetone, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide. It's sitting right next to me in a covered container. I was wondering what the blue stuff was. Can anyone tell me what exactly is ot thats causing this in my mixture?

  15. Bird rage I made sulfuric acid and added copper and it whent nuts. What percent to you think the acid was it started bubbling immediately and bubbled out everywhere

  16. So how long would it take to completely dissolve the copper if you left it in the acid and battery, or say a 6 volt power supply or more…. days weeks years…

  17. Hi. I did the electrochemical method but instead I used car battery sulfuric acid. I added about 30ml of car battery acid and 45ml of water. I putted my copper electrodes in and instead of hydrogen gas I got a unknown gas with a very pungent and irritating odor. I thought it was sulfur dioxide but it doesn't make any sense and it didn't smell like it too. Any ideas what that could be? Thank you for making good videos.

  18. NR- can the mixture of copper sulfate and acid solution be neutralized and an acid base extraction be done to precipitate out? I'm doing a pathway to pyridine from otc chemicals for YouTube. I've spent so much time researching my synthesis that I'm trying to give my brain a break hoping you can answer this. and we miss your videos so plz come back soon.

  19. Now, sulfuric acid can't dissolve elemental copper I think. But is it because of the hydrogen peroxide oxidizing the copper that makes it dissolve?

  20. 1. Could the NO₂ in method 2 be recycled to make nitric acid again?
    2. What if the copper is an alloy with some other metal?
    3. When evaporating the sulfuric acid at the end, could it be condensed and recycled to reduce its loss?
    4. What types of tubes can I use for isolation to avoid reacting with the acid?
    5. And same with the filters: paper filters are out of the table since sulfuric acid burns paper, right? So what filters can I use instead?
    6. How do you calculate the correct proportions of these chemicals?

  21. HI,
    I would like to ask in the last method(the electrolytic method) what was the concentration of the sulfuric acid ?
    I see that you have added some water to it , why ?

  22. If I use Sodium Bisulfate solution instead of sulphuric acid for the electrolysis method would it still work? Would the CuSO4 be contaminated with Na+ ions if it does?

  23. hey,
    i wanted to know if there is a way to dispose of the toxic fumes produced during the process and if its too toxic or not ?? i have plans for industrialized manufacturing of copper sulfate and am looking at every options

  24. Another way to make Copper Sulfate is to heat Copper and drop the produced Copper (||) Oxid in Sulfuric acid.

  25. I want to use the third method to make copper sulfate ….. I want to make copper sulfate of high copper percentage on large scale so can you help me what I should do

  26. Alternative method that I prefer is to generate copper carbonate by electrolysis using sodium carbonate as the electrolyte instead of sulfuric acid, which yield solid copper carbonate as a precipitate that can be decanted and washed. Then I add sulphuric acid to the copper carbonate stoichiometrically yielding copper sulfate. This has a number of advantages:

    1. Because the copper carbonate precipitates you only need to continue to feed the cell with more copper. Whereas the direct-to-copper-sulfate approach in the video has diminishing returns as the solution becomes saturated with copper sulfate. Using an excess of sodium carbonate will replenish automatically as the solution will continue to desolve it. So just feed it copper, set and forget.
    2. Decanting removes the bulk of the water so there is much less boiling required. Or none if you are looking for a wet product anyway.
    3. No boiling concentrated sulfuric acid! Which is much safer. (I'm referring to the final stage of the video where the water is being evaporated – wherein you are also concentrating the acid).

  27. Its always good to know how to make anything, because the skills are transferable.
    One good thing about growing your own large crystals is they are valuable in their own right for their beauty.
    If you got good at it, you could turn scrap copper into a nice little crystal buisness on ebay or a local shop selling crystals.

    You would want to look into how you could stabilize the crystals however, because copper sulfate is fairly toxic and chemically reactive. You don't want animals and young children eating the stuff. Some sort of spray on coating might be the go. But you would need to do your homework.

  28. All wrong. Commercially we use scrap copper cable wire and dilute sulphuric acid- And we bubble air into the solution all dissolves in 24h or so

  29. How to know if it's ready?
    Ps
    i use a power suply and why does the current (A) rise with time ? I let it for too long and burned my power suply.🤦‍♂️(it rised from 4A to 15A)

  30. I know it's nit picky, but when making peroxymonosulfuric acid or piranha solution you ALWAYS add the peroxide to the acid, not the other way around. The reason is due to the fact that as the peroxymonosulfuric acid forms, if there is a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide it can form a potentially explosive mixture. Adding peroxide to the acid ensures that the concentration of peroxide is low and is quickly consumed and sulfuric acid is in excess. I know with small volumes it mostly doesn't matter, but I work in a lab where it's not uncommon to need to make 500ml of piranha at a time and I can't tell you how many grad students have done it the other way and ended up with sputtering and small explosions. It's not good.

  31. TO EVERYONE MAKING THIS REACTION WITH THE 3 WAY !!! You need to have a good ventilation or do it out side!
    I made this reaction and it started to release sulfur oxide witch is DEADLY. Be carefoul.

  32. That looks like a really fun experiment to do. Thanks for posting it up! If you used copper (II) oxide and sulfuric acid to produce copper (II) sulfate pentahydrate, what would the balanced equation look like? So far, I have the equation CuO(s) + H2SO4(aq) -> CuSO4.5H20(s). For the life of me, I can't balance it in this form. Is copper (II) sulfate pentahydrate in this context the same as CuSO4(s) + 5H2O(l)?

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