Friday January 6th, 2017 00:39 Make Copper Metal from Copper Sulfate

It’s been quite a while since my last video, and I’m sorry for the long wait! I just bought my first home a little over a month ago, and it’s taken a good while to get settled in. Switching over all my utilities, carting my stuff over, and signing mountains of paperwork has kept me quite busy! Now things have finally settled down enough where I can start doing some science again, and more videos will be forthcoming from my new laboratory space 🙂 I have a lot of things planned! This experiment was a two step process to recover copper metal from copper sulfate, a commonly available stump remover chemical. In the first step, I reacted it with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to form copper carbonate. After filtering and drying, the second step of the process required mixing the copper carbonate with carbon and heating strongly for about 20 minutes. The reactions are as follows: CuSo4 + 2NaHCO3 == CuCO3 + Na2SO4 + H2O + CO2 2CuCO3 + C == 2Cu + 3CO2 Some of the CuCO3 also decomposes into CuO in a side reaction upon heating. As for the results, I think that if I had heated it to a higher temperature it may have helped the copper formed to coagulate together into a single mass. Also, I should have ground the reactants together and mixed them more thoroughly, to maximize the surface area of the reaction. Perhaps I’ll try both in the future. Credit for the idea for this experiment goes to Mr. Robert Bruce Thompson, aka TheHomeScientist here on YouTube. I got the idea from his

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    76 Comments on “Make Copper Metal from Copper Sulfate”

    • spotlightman1234 October 24, 2010 at 12:41 am

      You could have just put zinc in copper sulfate solution

    • mrhomescientist October 24, 2010 at 2:01 am

      @spotlightman1234 That’s one other way to do it, yes.

    • meganubis November 7, 2010 at 12:48 am

      to imporove your “furnace” add a tube with a blow dryer on the end. so yea it will increase the temp to make it molten

    • vmelkon February 12, 2011 at 8:56 am

      @2Lazy2ThinkOfSomthin You can make CuSO4 with copper and sulfuric acid. I would use car battery acid or you can buy sulfuric acid as certain drain cleaners.

    • MrLorum February 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm

      but i mixed coper slulfhate and woter and then add that to baking soda and no fizing

    • Palizasadomicilio March 20, 2011 at 11:28 am

      True, add CuSO4 and 2 eq. NaCl to water and then add aluminum foil, the rxn is exothermic, the red precipitate is Cu metal.

    • Heathenheart1979 April 18, 2011 at 3:38 am

      @spotlightman1234 Can I use Tin (Sn) powdered instead of Zinc (Zn) ?

    • Heathenheart1979 April 18, 2011 at 3:50 am

      How do you refine final product? I mean, how can i get rid of carbon parts? And then which purity is final copper because i can’t wash it with HCl or HNO3.

    • dang3rousgoldfish June 13, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      You can avoid the production of carbon dioxide by using sodium carbonate which is easily obtained by heating sodium bicarbonate
      2NaHCO1 -► Na2CO3 + H2o + CO2
      this reaction occurs t 70 degrees Celsius for high

    • 98JMA June 20, 2011 at 12:58 am

      No – zinc is more reactive than copper, so it can donate electrons to reduce it from ions in solution to solid metal (displacing it from solution). Tin is less reactive than copper, and therefore cannot do this.

    • 98JMA June 20, 2011 at 1:01 am

      You must either have used an extremely dilute solution of copper sulfate, not actually used the sulfate salt at all, used baking powder (which has a lot of other stuff aside from the NaHCO3) or not even used baking soda.

    • 98JMA June 20, 2011 at 1:02 am

      Good idea . . .that would force more oxygen into the flame to make it hotter, but, it still may not melt the copper at 1083*C.

    • Heathenheart1979 June 20, 2011 at 2:51 am

      @98JMA thanks, buddy

    • thompsonstudios01 June 27, 2011 at 7:54 am

      looks tasty

    • yellowmetalcyborg July 4, 2011 at 8:53 am

      Nice! I’ve tried this reaction myself. I ended up with a big blue mess because I added the sodium bicarbonate too fast : ).
      You could have heated the copper carbonate to remove carbon dioxide and then heated the CuO in a hydrogen atmosphere to get water and copper metal. But your method works just as well.

    • chemieFreak14 July 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm

      @spotlightman1234 or iron, it’s cheeper.

    • codownni July 14, 2011 at 9:53 pm


    • TheRyanatkinson August 15, 2011 at 9:58 am

      what about electrolyzing copper sulfate solution

    • mrhomescientist August 15, 2011 at 7:56 pm

      @TheRyanatkinson Yes that also works. There’s many ways to reduce CuSO4 to the metal, this is just a more involved one that I thought would be neat to try.

    • 00doowi August 17, 2011 at 9:52 am

      One of the coolest Youtube videos! I hope to try this soon! I wanna melt the copper down into a coin or mini statue of ME! Its also pretty interesting and cool how blue+black+fire=brown. I thought the copper would either be molten or another color. Not the pure color of copper.

    • mrhomescientist September 5, 2011 at 4:38 am

      @00doowi Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the video. Copper chemistry is a lot of fun, there’s so many different colors you can get with it!

    • xenomancer40k September 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      I believe you forgot to include the crystal hydration mass in your calculations. Copper sulfate is typically the pentahydrate and copper carbonate is a dihydrate if I recall correctly. Dehydrated copper compounds are white. Also, most root killer mixtures are ~98% copper sulfate with copper chloride making up most of the remaining 2%.

    • mrhomescientist September 17, 2011 at 9:35 am

      @xenomancer40k All very excellent points! This was back when I was just starting out with the hobby, so there’s some gaps in my process for sure. I’d like to redo this video one day and actually produce a nugget of Cu.

    • 100alexdel October 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

      What happened to the sodium in the sodium bicarbonate

    • mrhomescientist October 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm

      @100alexdel See the description. It stays in solution as sodium sulfate.

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