How to make copper sulphate

This is an easy way to produce copper sulphate either at home, at school or in a laboratory.

Please note: As you will be working with hot water it is important that children are supervised at all times.

Ingredients needed to make your own copper sulphate crystals:

  • Copper carbonate or black copper oxide
  • Sulphuric acid
  • a clean beaker
  • A conical flask
  • A glass rod
  • A tripod
  • an evaporating dish
  • Gauze
  • Filter paper
  • A funnel
  • goggles
  • Gloves

Instructions on how to make copper sulphate:

  • Using gloves and goggles add sulphuric acid to copper carbonate or copper oxide until no more dissolves.
  • You will know when you have added enough as no more gas will be produced.
  • Filter the solution through the filter paper in a funnel onto an evaporating dish.
  • Heat the solution gently over a bunsen burner until most of the solution has evaporated and allow to cool.
  • crystals of copper sulphate will start to form on the dish.

Notes:

Always wear appropriate personal protection equipment when handling sulphuric acid as it is very corrosive.

Where to buy quality Copper Sulphate

Where to buy copper carbonate

Where to buy copper oxide black

Uses for Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate

Copper(II) sulfate (CuSO4), is a common salt of copper. Copper sulfate exists as a series of compounds that differ in their degree of hydration. The anhydrous form is a pale green or gray-white powder, while the hydrated form is bright blue. The archaic name for copper(II) sulfate is “blue vitriol” or “bluestone”. The most common form of copper sulphate is in the pentahydrate form and there are over 100 manufacturers producing around 200,000 tonnes per annum. Approximately three-quarters of copper sulphate pentahydrate is used in agriculture, principally as a fungicide, but also for treating copper-deficient soils.

How to use copper sulfate for killing Moss:

Mix 5–8g per litre of water. apply this solution at a rate of 1 litre per 5m2.

How to use copper sulfate for treating algae in ponds, fish tanks and aquariums:

Dissolve 30g of copper sulfate and 30g of citric acid in 1 litre of water. For each 5 litres of pond water add 1 drop of the made up solution (this equates to 0.15ppm). Do not allow levels of copper to exceed 0.20 ppm.

How to use copper sulfate for controlling tree roots in drains & sewers

CLICK HERE to read an article on how to control tree roots in drains etc

Other uses for copper sulfate

Several chemical tests utilize copper sulfate as an indicator. In a flame test its copper ions emit a deep blue-green light. It is used in fehlings solution and Benedicts solution to test for reducing sugars, which reduce the soluble blue copper(II) sulfate to insoluble red copper oxide. Copper(II) sulfate is also used in the Biuret reagent to test for proteins.

Copper sulfate is also used to test blood for anemia. A drop of the patient’s blood is dropped into a beaker of copper sulfate solution: if it sinks within a certain time, then the patient has sufficient haemogloblin levels and is not anemic. If the blood floats or sinks too slowly, then the patient is iron-deficient and may be anemic.

Copper sulfate is a commonly included chemical in children’s che­mistry sets and is often used in high school crystal growing and copper plating experiments. However due to its toxicity, it is not recommended for small children.

Copper sulfate is often used to demonstrate an exothermic reaction, in which steel wool or magnesium ribbon is placed in an aqueous solution of CuSO4.

It is used in school chemistry courses to demonstrate the principle of mineral hydration. The pentahydrate form, which is blue, is heated, turning the copper sulfate into the anhydrous form which is white, while the water that was present in the pentahydrate form evaporates. When water is then added to the anhydrous compound, it turns back into the pentahydrate form, regaining its blue colour. It can be used to plate metals with copper.

It finds use in agriculture as a fungicide. Mixed with lime it is called Bordeaux mixture, which is used to control fungus on plant leaves, grapes and other berries. Normally it is used as a 1% solution (100g copper sulfate & 100g Lime per 10 litres of water)

Its use as a herbicide is not agricultural, but instead for control of invasive exotic aquatic plants and the roots of other invasive plants near various pipes that contain water.

Other applications include:

  • Production of copper fungicides.
  • Manufacture of Insecticides.
  • Addition of copper to copper deficient soil.
  • Soil sterilization.
  • Preparation of Bordeaux and Burgundy mixtures.
  • Mixed with ammonium carbonate to produce “Chestnut compound”.
  • Preservative for pulp, wood and wooden structures.
  • As a disinfectant, antiseptic, germicide and bacteriostat.
  • Inhibits the growth of bacteria like Escherichia coli.
  • Treatment of parasitic infections in aquarium fish.
  • Removal of snails in aquariums.
  • For the control and prevention of foot rot in cattle and sheep.
  • As a growth stimulant for pigs and chickens.
  • For the control and treatment of scum on lakes and ponds.
  • As a molluscicide.
  • As a preservative in glues.
  • Control of bloom caused by algae in pools, ponds, reservoirs, spas etc
  • Purification of gases.
  • Mordant in vegetable dying industry.
  • Laundry marking ink.
  • As a dye for hair.
  • Green colouration in fireworks and in flame tests.
  • Preparation of diazo and aniline black dyes.
  • Preparation of catalysts.
  • Preparation of other copper compounds.
  • As an electrolyte in plating and refining industries.
  • As a flotation agent in mining.
  • In the purification of butadiene.
  • In the purification of petroleum oil.
  • Etching agent in engraving especially zinc in the intaglio printmaking.
  • In glass and ceramics industry to colour.
  • Production of rayon.
  • For blueing steel and the colouring of zinc and aluminium.
  • For the control of concrete setting.
  • Control and protection against lichen, fungus and moulds.
  • In the preparation of Fehlings solution, Biuret Reagent and Benedicts solution.
  • In the laboratory to demonstrate exothermic reactions where steel wool or magnesium and placed in an aqueous solution of copper sulphate.

Where to buy copper sulfate online UK

How to grow copper sulfate crystals

Growing crystals is fun and very rewarding. It does take time and a lot of patience but the final results can be amazing.

The secret to quality crystals is working with clean equipment and good quality copper sulfate. The process involves using a saturated solution to firstly create a single seed crystal and then growing this seed crystal as large as you like.

Please note: As you will be working with hot water it is important that children are supervised at all times.

Ingredients needed to grow your own copper sulfate crystals:

  • Water
  • copper sulfate
  • 2 clean jars
  • Fishing line
  • A pencil or stiff wire
  • Tablespoon
  • A cloth
  • Gloves

Instructions on how to copper sulfate crystals:

Stage 1 – Producing a saturated solution.

  • Using gloves add copper sulfate to a jar containing water and stir until dissolved.
  • Keep adding more copper sulfate and mixing until no more will dissolve.
  • There should be some undissolved copper sulfate settled at the bottom of the jar.
  • Allow the jar to sit for an hour so that all undissolved solid settles to the bottom of the jar.
  • Carefully transfer only the liquid to a second clean jar and seal it for the next processes.

Stage 2 – Producing the seed crystal.

  • Pour some of the saturated solution into a clean jar.
  • Cover the jar with a cloth and place in a dark place (cupboard etc).
  • A few crystal should start forming at the bottom of the jar. (see notes)
  • Allow them  to continue to grow until they are large enough to handle easily.
  • Remove the crystals from the jar and keep dry for using in the next process.
  • Seed crystals that you wish to keep for later should be wrapped in tissue.

Stage 3 – Growing the large crystals.

  • Take the original jar of saturated copper sulfate solution.
  • Tie one of the seed crystals to a length of fishing line.
  • Tie the other end of the line to a pencil or some stiff wire.
  • Immerse the seed crystal into the jar making sure that it is not touching the sides or the base.
  • Place the pencil or wire across the top of the jar and fix in position with a bit of tape.
  • Cover the jar with a cloth and set aside to allow the crystal to grow.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight and away from heaters, radiators etc.
  • As the crystal grows the level of the saturated solution will drop.
  • you can top up the solution by making more of it (repeat stage 1) and adding carefully so as to avoid disturbing the growing crystal.
  • You can continue doing this for days, weeks, months or even years – it just depends on how big a crystal you want to grow.
  • When you are happy with the finished crystal remove it and store it somewhere dry.

Notes:

For the cleanest crystals distilled water should be use instead of tap water .

It is very important that during all processes you keep the containers covered to prevent dust getting in which will spoil the crystals.

If during the seed growing process you notice that the complete surface of the base is covered in tiny crystals this means that the jar was not clean and you will need to start this process again.

Where to buy quality Copper Sulfate

What is Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate and what is it used for ?

What is Copper sulfate pentahydrate:

Copper(II) sulfate pentahydrate (CuSO4.5H2O), is a common salt of copper. Copper sulfate is a bright blue, odourless crystalline solid which is soluble in water. The archaic name for copper(II) sulphate is “blue vitriol” or “bluestone”. It has numerous applications including as a fungicide, algaecide, pesticide, laboratory analytical reagent, feed supplement, zinc etching and as a mordant.

Specification for Copper Sulfate:

  • Synonyms: Cupric sulphate; sulphuric acid, Copper salt; Blue vitriol; Bluestone; Sulfate de cuivre; Kupfersulfat Pentahydrat;
  • Appearance: blue crystals
  • Formula: CuSO4 5H2O
  • Assay: 98.5% minimum
  • Cu: 25%
  • CAS No: 7758–99–8
  • EINECS No: 231–847–6
  • Mol weight: 246.48
  • Melting point: 150 C
  • Density: 2.28 g/cm3
  • Solubility: soluble in water 316 g/L (0C) 2033 g/L (100C)
  • pH: 4 at 50 g/L
  • Refractive index: 1.514

Copper sulfate is soluble in methanol (10.4 g/L @18C) but insoluble in ethanol. At 650C copper sulfate decomposes into copper (II) oxide and sulphur trioxide.

Where to buy copper sulfate online UK

How to use copper sulfate for killing Moss:

Copper sulfate kills moss on contact. It is commonly used for treatment of moss on roofs, paths etc but not for grass. For treatment of moss on grass it is best to use Ferrous sulfate.

Mix 5–8g per litre of water. apply this solution at a rate of 1 litre per 5m2. When the moss is dead wash off under high pressure.

How to use copper sulfate for treating algae in ponds, fish tanks and aquariums:

Dissolve 30g of copper sulfate and 30g of citric acid in 1 litre of water. For each 5 litres of pond water add 1 drop of the made up solution (this equates to 0.15ppm). Do not allow levels of copper to exceed 0.20 ppm.

How to use copper sulfate for controlling tree roots in drains & sewers

CLICK HERE to read an aticle on how to contol tree roots in drains etc

Several chemical tests utilize copper sulfate as an indicator. In a flame test its copper ions emit a deep blue-green light. It is used infehlings solution and Benedicts solution to test for reducing sugars, which reduce the soluble blue copper(II) sulfate to insoluble red copper oxide. Copper(II) sulfate is also used in the Biuret reagent to test for proteins.

Copper sulfate is also used to test blood for anemia. A drop of the patient’s blood is dropped into a beaker of copper sulfate solution: if it sinks within a certain time, then the patient has sufficient haemogloblin levels and is not anemic. If the blood floats or sinks too slowly, then the patient is iron-deficient and may be anemic.

Copper sulfate is a commonly included chemical in children’s che­mistry sets and is often used in high school crystal growing and copper plating experiments. However due to its toxicity, it is not recommended for small children.

Copper sulfate is often used to demonstrate an exothermic reaction, in which steel wool or magnesium ribbon is placed in an aqueous solution of CuSO4.

It is used in school chemistry courses to demonstrate the principle of mineral hydration. The pentahydrate form, which is blue, is heated, turning the copper sulfate into the anhydrous form which is white, while the water that was present in the pentahydrate form evaporates. When water is then added to the anhydrous compound, it turns back into the pentahydrate form, regaining its blue colour. It can be used to plate metals with copper.

It finds use in agriculture as a fungicide. Mixed with lime it is called Bordeaux mixture, which is used to control fungus on plant leaves, grapes and other berries. Normally it is used as a 1% solution (100g copper sulfate & 100g Lime per 10 litres of water)

Its use as an herbicide is not agricultural, but instead for control of invasive exotic aquatic plants and the roots of other invasive plants near various pipes that contain water.

A very dilute solution of copper sulfate is used to treat aquarium fish of various parasitic infections, and is also used to remove snails from aquariums. However, as the copper ions are also highly toxic to the fish, care must be taken with the dosage. Most species of algae can be controlled with very low concentrations of copper sulfate.

Other uses include: hair dyes, as a fining in winemaking, and the processing of leather and textiles.

Health & Safety

Risk phrases: R22– Harmful if swallowed. R36/38– Irritating to eyes and skin. R50/53– Very toxic to aquatic organisms, may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment.

Safety phrases: S22– Do not breathe dust. S60– This material and its container must be disposed of as hazardous waste. S61– Avoid release to the environment.

For full information see MSDS for copper sulfate pentahydrate above in documents section.

.

Where to buy copper sulfate online UK

How to grow copper sulphate crystals

Growing crystals is fun and very rewarding. It does take time and a lot of patience but the final results can be amazing.

The secret to quality crystals is working with clean equipment and good quality copper sulphate. The process involves using a saturated solution to firstly create a single seed crystal and then growing this seed crystal as large as you like.

Please note: As you will be working with hot water it is important that children are supervised at all times.

Ingredients needed to grow your own copper sulphate crystals:

  • Water
  • copper sulphate
  • 2 clean jars
  • Fishing line
  • A pencil or stiff wire
  • Tablespoon
  • A cloth
  • Gloves

Instructions on how to copper sulphate crystals:

Stage 1 – Producing a saturated solution.

  • Using gloves add copper sulphate to a jar containing water and stir until dissolved.
  • Keep adding more copper sulphate and mixing until no more will dissolve.
  • There should be some undissolved copper sulfate settled at the bottom of the jar.
  • Allow the jar to sit for an hour so that all undissolved solid settles to the bottom of the jar.
  • Carefully transfer only the liquid to a second clean jar and seal it for the next processes.

Stage 2 – Producing the seed crystal.

  • Pour some of the saturated solution into a clean jar.
  • Cover the jar with a cloth and place in a dark place (cupboard etc).
  • A few crystal should start forming at the bottom of the jar. (see notes)
  • Allow them  to continue to grow until they are large enough to handle easily.
  • Remove the crystals from the jar and keep dry for using in the next process.
  • Seed crystals that you wish to keep for later should be wrapped in tissue.

Stage 3 – Growing the large crystals.

  • Take the original jar of saturated copper sulphate solution.
  • Tie one of the seed crystals to a length of fishing line.
  • Tie the other end of the line to a pencil or some stiff wire.
  • Immerse the seed crystal into the jar making sure that it is not touching the sides or the base.
  • Place the pencil or wire across the top of the jar and fix in position with a bit of tape.
  • Cover the jar with a cloth and set aside to allow the crystal to grow.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight and away from heaters, radiators etc.
  • As the crystal grows the level of the saturated solution will drop.
  • you can top up the solution by making more of it (repeat stage 1) and adding carefully so as to avoid disturbing the growing crystal.
  • You can continue doing this for days, weeks, months or even years – it just depends on how big a crystal you want to grow.
  • When you are happy with the finished crystal remove it and store it somewhere dry.

Notes:

For the cleanest crystals distilled water should be use instead of tap water .

It is very important that during all processes you keep the containers covered to prevent dust getting in which will spoil the crystals.

If during the seed growing process you notice that the complete surface of the base is covered in tiny crystals this means that the jar was not clean and you will need to start this process again.

Where to buy quality Copper Sulphate