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Copper(II) sulfate pentahydrate

(cupric sulfate, copper sulphate, cupric sulphate, blue vitriol, bluestone, Roman vitriol, Salzburg vitriol)

CAS no: 7758-99-8   Formula: CuSO4.5H2O   Molecular weight: 249.686

Physical Data

Appearance: Odorless, blue triclinic crystalline solids

Melting point: 110C (decomposes)
Boiling point: -

Density: 2.286 g/cm3
Solubility: 22.0 g/100 g H2Ograph

Thermodynamic Data

Enthalpy of formation: -
Gibbs energy of formation: -

Entropy: -
Heat capacity: -

Production and preparation

Occurs in nature as the mineral chalcanthite, a water soluble sulfate mineral. It is prepared by treating copper(II) oxide or copper metal with warm sulfuric acid to give the blue pentahydrate salt.

Behavior and Chemical Properties

Slowly efflorescent in air and decomposes at 110C to lose four waters of hydration. Becomes anhydrous at 250C and at 560C to give copper(II) oxide (CuO).

With sodium hydroxide solution a blue-green copper(II) hydroxide precipitate is formed which turned to black CuO when heated:

formation and decomposition of copper hydroxide

Copper is also readily displaced from aqueous solution by a more reactive metal. For example, copper is coated on metallic zinc when the latter is immersed in the copper sulfate solution:

displacement reaction

History and Uses

The use of copper sulfate is numerous. It is used in agriculture as a pesticide, germicide, feed additive and soil additive. Bordeaux mixture is the first fungicide developed by Millardet (1838-1902), a French botanist. The mixture consists of copper sulfate, hydrated lime and water. It is still used to treat certain plants such as orchid.

In medicine it is used as a locally applied fungicide, bactericide and astringent.

It is also used in the preparation of other copper compounds, electrolyte for batteries and as electroplating solutions. In mining, it is used as a floatation reagent in recovery of zinc and lead.

It is also used as mordant in textile dyeing and preparation of azo dyes.

Hazard, Storage and Handling

The salt should be stored in a cool dry place. It is acidic and causes eye, skin and respiratory tract irritations. It is readily absorbed through the skin and when swallow may cause nausea, vomiting, headache, burning pain to chest and abdomen. Contact with skin can cause itching and eczema. Contact with eyes and skin should be avoided through the use of safety googles and rubber gloves.

In case of eye contact, flush eyes with plenty of water immediately and call a physician. If swallowed give large amount of milk or water and seek medical advice.

More information on regulations, environmental and ecological effects click here.

(Last update: November 2002)

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