Making Basic Copper Carbonate using Baking Soda

Making Basic Copper Carbonate using Baking Soda

Before performing this experiment copper salts are moderately toxic and should be handled with gloves. Hello everyone. Today we will be making basic copper carbonate. Basic copper carbonate is made of two copper ions with one carbonate ion and two hydroxide ions; the word basic denotes the two hydroxide groups. It can be used as a precursor for making several different composites by reacting it with the respective acid. especially for weaker acids. A lot of people have already made videos on making basic copper carbonate. But I want to provide a pathway for those of you who don’t have access to such high-quality equipment. Instead doing it from mostly household chemicals. I currently have no use for this basic copper carbonate, but I’ll be giving a tutorial for those of you who are interested. Basic copper carbonate can be formed from a double displacement reaction between copper sulfate and either sodium carbonate (soda ash) or bicarbonate (baking soda). I’ll be using sodium bicarbonate since it was easier for me to acquire, but I recommend you say sodium carbonate apostle as less water will be produced as a result the reaction and therefore less time for drying later on. To make the basic copper carbonate start by adding 20 grams of copper sulfate pentahydrate. Make sure to calculate the correct stoichiometric amount of copper sulfate as we’re using the pentahydrate version which means that there will be five moles of water for every one mole of copper sulfate in this case. We actually have 12.8 grams of copper sulfate. Now add 90 mL of warm distilled water to the copper sulfate. Copper sulfate is soluble but it takes a long time for it to fully dissolve, so using a stir bar is advisable. I didn’t have one on hand, unfortunately, so I had to do it manually using a glass stir rod. Once the copper sulfate solution is made, slowly at 13.5 grams of sodium bicarbonate or 8.5 grams of sodium carbonate. The copper sulfate and sodium bicarbonate will react to form insoluble basic copper carbonate (our target) and soluble sodium sulfate (which dissolves in the water). A lot of carbon dioxide will be produced as in this reaction. So don’t all add it all at once or it will bubble out and create a mess. Looking back I probably was being overly prudent when I added the baking soda, but I still decided to keep on the safe side to make sure nothing bubbled out. While this reaction is occurring stir the mixture around to make sure everything is reacting. Stir regularly around every time you add the baking soda. If you are a large amount of baking soda and stirred only after a few minutes the reaction may bubble out uncontrollably. This reaction will take a few hours to complete. So leave it overnight to finish reacting. When coming back to it stir the mixture to guarantee that everything has thoroughly reacted. Do this at least a couple of times and once no more bubbling occurs when stirring let the mixture settle. Once you come back to it, the water should be pretty clear with a blueish green precipitate at the bottom. That is our basic copper carbonate to separate it. We’ll have to coffee filter it. Set up a funnel with a coffee filter and pour the mixture in. Try not to be as sloppy as I was when I did it. I forgot to fold the coffee filter into a cone. But ultimately that did not impact my yield significantly. Make sure to wash the basic copper carbonate so that no soluble byproducts contaminate it. If there’s still any precipitate at the bottom of the separated supernant filter it through again. I did three filtrations to make sure everything was fully separated. After, let the basic copper carbonate dry. And there is their basic copper carbonate Some parts are a little bit darker, which probably meant I didn’t dry it thoroughly yet. But I can always let it dry for longer. I ended up getting a nearly quantitative yield of 98% which meant that this process was surprisingly effective. Then again, it’s not that hard to make basic copper carbonate, as the chemicals are rather cheap and the process is quite simple in spite of me messing up. Now you may be asked in why basic copper carbonate is produced in this reaction instead of neutral copper carbonate. In theory copper carbonate should be produced in this reaction, so one wouldn’t be completely mistaken for thinking that regular copper carbonate would be the precipitate. However, copper carbonate is unstable and decomposes in the presence of moisture to form basic copper carbonate. It would be pointless to separate the two from one another as copper carbonate has very similar properties to basic copper carbonate. And that is how to make basic copper carbonate. Thanks for watching. Have a good one


  1. Any recommendations on what I should do next? I'd like to hear your suggestions on what you'd genuinely like to see (i.e. reactions, explanations, or just anything interesting that is chemistry-related). Remember, nothing dangerous or illegal (so no synthesis of recreational drugs).

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