Production and Uses of Copper Sulfate - WorldOfChemicals

Copper Sulfate - Preparation and Uses

Copper Sulfate

Copper sulfate, also known as copper sulphate is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula CuSO4. Other names for this chemical compound include Roman vitriol, bluestone, blue vitriol and vitriol of copper. Hydrated copper sulfate is a blue salt, whereas anhydrous copper sulfate is a white salt. 


Copper sulfate is prepared by treating metallic copper with sulfuric acid. It is also prepared by treating oxides of copper with dilute sulfuric acid. Gradual leaching of low-grade copper ore in the presence of bacteria under aerobic conditions can produce copper sulfate. 


Copper sulfate used for commercial purposes is 98% pure. Anhydrous Copper sulphate is 60.19% sulfate and 39.81% copper by mass. Whereas, hydrated copper sulphate is 36.06% water, 38.47% sulfate and 25.47% copper by mass.


Chemistry Education 

Copper sulfate, despite its toxicity, is used to grow crystals for demonstrative experiments in schools, such as exothermic reaction. It is used to illustrate the principle of mineral hydration. Copper sulphate is used as an electrolyte or cathode solution in galvanic cells in high school education and general chemistry. 



Algaecide, Fungicide and Herbicide 

In swimming pools and fish aquariums, copper sulfate is used as an algaecide. Copper sulfate pentahydrate is used as a fungicide. It is used to check fungus growth on melons, grapes, and other fruits as Bordeaux mixture, which is a mixture of copper sulfate and calcium hydroxide.

It is used in horticulture to protect seedlings from damping off as Cheshunt compound, which is a mixture of copper sulphate and ammonium carbonate. This chemical compound is also used a herbicide to check the growth of plants roots and aquatic plants near water pipes. 



Chemical tests involving reagents such as Fehling's solution, Benedict's solution and Biuret reagent, require copper sulfate for their preparation. This chemical compound is used to test blood for anemia. It is also used in flame test, where copper ions emit a dark green light, much darker as compared to the flame test for barium.


Other Uses

In printing, chemical sulfate is used as an additive in glues and bookbinding pastes, to protect paper from insect attack. Copper sulfate is used as an additive in concrete to provide disinfectant qualities and water resistance. This chemical can be used as a coloring ingredient in artworks, such as potteries and glasses. Copper sulfate is used as a coloring agent in the manufacture of blue fireworks. 


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