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What is Copper Sulfate?

What is Copper Sulfate?

Copper sulfate, which is also known as cupric sulphate, is a chemical compound and salt having applications in a variety of fields. It is synthesized using the method of electrolysis. Listed below are its properties and uses...
Shashank Nakate
Copper sulfate crystals
The chemical formula of copper sulfate is CuSO4. The reactions between various copper compounds and sulfuric acid results in its formation. This chemical is basically a salt. Various forms exist on the basis of degree of hydration. The classification of this compound groups it into those containing varying degrees of water and the other with no water, i.e., the anhydrous one. Anhydrous type exists in nature in the form of chalcocyanite, a rare mineral. Copper sulfate pentahydrate (CuSO4.5H2O) is the most common form of this chemical.

It is prepared by different methods, and electrolysis is one of these. Copper electrodes are used in the process of electrolyzing sulfuric acid. Another method used in the preparation of this compound is that of Epsom salt electrolysis. Copper anode is used in this process.

  • It is used in the organic synthesis processes. Anhydrous form of this chemical is used as a catalyst in the transacylation. Reaction of the hydrated form with potassium permanganate produces an oxidant. This oxidant is used for the purpose of conversion of alcohols.
  • It is also used in the field of pyrotechnics. Blue fireworks can be created with the help of this chemical.
  • In the field of agriculture, it is used in the preparation of various compounds, including herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, etc. Fungal infection of grapes is treated with fungicides manufactured with this compound.
  • It's used in the treatment of water, where algae and other organisms can be removed by it.
  • It's common to use it in aquariums, wherein parasites are killed and water is purified.
  • It is used as an analytical agent in different chemical reactions. It's also one of the ingredients of Benedict's and Fehling's solution. Testing for reducing sugar and proteins is carried out with it. In addition, it is also one of the ingredients of Biuret reagent.
Copper Sulfate Crystals
The repetitive internal pattern is responsible for the formation of copper sulfate crystals. Therefore, these crystals attain a unique shape. They can be prepared at home. To prepare these crystals, one would need hot water. In this process, the copper sulfate solution must be dissolved in hot water, and the resulting solution should be added to more water to the point of saturation. The saturated solution should be kept undisturbed for a few days. Allowing the solution to sit for few days leads to the formation of crystals. Suspending a nylon wire in the solution provides a surface area for the crystals to grow.

Dangers of Copper Sulfate Exposure
This chemical acts as an irritant, and therefore proves to be harmful when a person is exposed to it. Problems like itching, eczema, inflammation of the eyelids, conjunctivitis, ulceration, and other such problems occur if it comes in contact with the body.