Copper Sulfate

Copper(II) Sulfate (CuSO4) is a versatile chemical compound known for its vibrant blue color. In chemistry, it’s recognized for its role in various applications, including agriculture, where it acts as a fungicide, and in copper refining, serving as an essential electrolyte. Copper(II) sulfate is highly valued in educational chemistry for showcasing crystal growth and investigating transition metals. Its vibrant blue crystals offer a visual and hands-on way to learn about crystallization and chemical properties. This compound enriches students’ chemistry knowledge and sparks interest in science through engaging experiments, making it a key resource for understanding chemistry fundamentals. Its effectiveness in water treatment processes, by combating algae and microbial contaminants, underscores its importance across multiple industries.

What is Copper(II) Sulfate?

Copper(II) sulfate, also known as cupric sulfate, is a chemical compound with the formula CuSO₄. It’s a versatile substance that appears as a bright blue, crystalline solid in its most common form, Copper(II) Sulfate Pentahydrate (CuSO₄·5H₂O). This compound is widely used across various fields including agriculture, where it serves as an effective fungicide, in industrial processes for refining copper, and in chemistry education for demonstrating crystal growth and the properties of transition metals. Additionally, it’s employed in water treatment efforts to control algae and remove contaminants.

Chemical Names and Formulas

Property Value
Formula CuSO₄
Hill formula CuO₄S
Name Copper(II) sulfate
IUPAC name Copper sulfate
Alternate names Cupric sulfate

Structure of Copper(II) Sulfate

Structure of Copper(II) Sulfate

The structure of Copper(II) Sulfate, specifically in its anhydrous form (CuSO₄), features a central copper ion (Cu²⁺) connected to four sulfate (SO₄²⁻) ions arranged in a tetrahedral geometry. This arrangement allows the copper ion to interact with the sulfate ions, forming a solid crystalline structure.

In its more common hydrated form, Copper(II) Sulfate Pentahydrate (CuSO₄·5H₂O), the structure becomes more complex. The copper ion is still at the center, but now it’s surrounded by four water molecules and one sulfate ion in a distorted square pyramid shape. The fifth water molecule is not directly bonded to the copper ion but is attached through hydrogen bonding to the sulfate ion and other water molecules, stabilizing the structure and contributing to the compound’s distinctive bright blue crystals.These structural properties of Copper(II) Sulfate are crucial for its chemical behavior, including its solubility in water, its ability to form complexes, and its use in various chemical reactions and applications.

Preparation of Copper(II) Sulfate

Copper(II) sulfate, known for its vivid blue color in its hydrated form, is a versatile chemical compound with a wide range of applications. The preparation of Copper(II) sulfate involves a simple reaction between copper(II) oxide (CuO) and sulfuric acid (H₂SO₄) in an aqueous solution. To begin, approximately 100 ml of distilled water is added to a clean beaker, followed by the gradual addition of about 5 grams of copper(II) oxide. The mixture is then carefully treated with sulfuric acid, added dropwise while stirring, to ensure complete dissolution of the copper oxide. The reaction that takes place is represented by the equation:

CuO (s) + H₂SO₄(aq) → CuSO₄ (aq) + H₂O (l)

This reaction illustrates the transformation of copper(II) oxide and sulfuric acid into Copper(II) sulfate and water, signifying the formation of Copper(II) sulfate in the aqueous solution.

Upon the addition of sulfuric acid, the solution is gently heated and continuously stirred to facilitate the reaction. As the copper(II) oxide dissolves, the solution adopts a characteristic blue color, indicative of Copper(II) sulfate formation. To make a clear blue solution of Copper(II) Sulfate, heat the solution, cool it to room temperature, filter out solids, and evaporate water for crystals.

The entire process, from the dissolution of copper(II) oxide to the crystallization of Copper(II) sulfate, is not only a demonstration of basic chemical reactions but also highlights the preparation of a compound with significant practical applications. Safety precautions, including the use of protective gear and handling chemicals with care, are paramount throughout the experiment to ensure a safe and effective outcome. Copper(II) sulfate, with its wide range of uses, from agriculture to education, exemplifies the importance of chemical synthesis in producing valuable compounds.

Physical Properties of  Copper(II) Sulfate

Property Description
Appearance Bright blue, crystalline solid
Molecular Weight 249.68 g/mol (Pentahydrate)
Density 2.286 g/cm³ (Pentahydrate)
Melting Point 110°C (230°F; decomposes to anhydrous form)
Boiling Point Decomposes before boiling
Solubility in Water 31.6 g/100 mL (0°C); 203.3 g/100 mL (100°C)
Chemical Formula CuSO4·5H2O (Pentahydrate)
pH Acidic (around 4.5 for a 5% solution at 25°C)

Chemical Properties of Copper(II) Sulfate

Reactivity with Water

Copper(II) Sulfate readily dissolves in water, forming a blue aqueous solution. The anhydrous form can absorb moisture from the air, transitioning to the hydrated form, Copper(II) Sulfate Pentahydrate (CuSO₄·5H₂O), which is known for its bright blue crystals.

Acidic Nature

In aqueous solutions, Copper(II) Sulfate exhibits acidic properties due to the release of H+ ions from the sulfate ion (SO₄²⁻). It can react with bases to form copper-containing salts.

Complex Formation

Copper(II) Sulfate can form complexes with other ions or molecules. For example, when mixed with ammonia (NH₃), it forms a deep blue complex, [Cu(NH₃)4]²⁺, showcasing its ability to undergo ligand exchange reactions.

Redox Reactions

Being a good oxidizing agent, Copper(II) Sulfate can participate in redox (reduction-oxidation) reactions. Copper(II) Sulfate can oxidize metals, such as turning iron into Iron(II) Sulfate while releasing copper metal in the process.


Upon heating, Copper(II) Sulfate Pentahydrate loses its water of hydration, turning into the anhydrous form, which is white. Further heating can decompose it into Copper(II) Oxide (CuO), sulfur dioxide (SO₂), and oxygen (O₂).

Reaction with Acids and Bases

Copper(II) Sulfate reacts with strong acids, such as concentrated hydrochloric acid, to form Copper(II) Chloride (CuCl₂) and sulfuric acid. With bases, it forms copper hydroxide precipitates.

Copper(II) Sulfate (CuSO₄) Chemical Compound Information

Chemical Identifiers

Property Value
CAS Registry Number 7758-98-7
PubChem Compound ID 24462
SMILES Identifier [O-]S(=O)(=O)[O-].[Cu+2]
InChI Identifier InChI=1/Cu.H2O4S/c;1-5(2, 3)4/h;(H2,1,2,3,4)/q+2;/p-2/fCu.O4S/qm;-2
RTECS Number GL8800000
MDL Number MFCD00010981

Uses of Copper(II) Sulfate

Uses Of Copper(II) Sulfate

Agriculture uses

Used extensively as a fungicide and herbicide to control fungal diseases in crops and unwanted vegetation in water bodies. Copper(II) Sulfate enhances plant health by treating soil with copper deficiencies.

Chemical Industry uses

It serves as a starting material for making other copper compounds and is used in dyes and pigments. In electroplating, Copper(II) Sulfate helps deposit copper on metals through galvanic baths.

Education and Laboratory uses

Serves as an important chemical in educational demonstrations, particularly in experiments involving crystal growth and the investigation of chemical reactions. In laboratories, Copper(II) Sulfate serves as a reagent in many analytical methods..

Water Treatment uses

Utilized in the purification of water by controlling algae growth and removing phosphates, which contribute to water eutrophication. Its antibacterial properties help in preventing the spread of waterborne diseases.

Medical and Public Health uses

Employed in antiseptic products and in the treatment of parasitic infections.

Art and Crafts uses

Used in traditional patination processes to impart aged appearances to copper artworks and sculptures.

Mining uses

Acts as a flotation reagent in the extraction of metals from their ores, particularly in the processing of zinc and lead ores.

Benefits Of Copper(II) Sulfate

Agricultural Health

It plays a crucial role in preventing and treating fungal diseases in crops, ensuring healthier plant growth and improved crop yields. By correcting copper deficiencies in the soil, it supports the overall nutritional health of plants.

Water Purification

Its use in water treatment processes helps in controlling algae blooms and removing microbes, leading to cleaner, safer water bodies. This contributes to the maintenance of ecosystems and supports public health by reducing waterborne diseases.

Industrial Applications

In the chemical industry, Copper(II) Sulfate is crucial for making various copper compounds, electroplating, and producing pigments. These applications are essential for manufacturing processes across various sectors.

Disease Prevention in Livestock

The compound’s antifungal and antibacterial properties make it effective in preventing hoof diseases in cattle and other livestock, promoting animal health and reducing the risk of disease spread.

Environmental Benefits

By controlling unwanted vegetation and pests in aquatic environments, Copper(II) Sulfate helps in managing ecosystems and maintaining biodiversity.

Artistic Use

Artists and craftsmen utilize Copper(II) Sulfate for patination processes, enabling the creation of aesthetically pleasing artworks with unique finishes.

Side Effects of Copper(II) Sulfate

Health Risks

  • Toxicity: It is toxic if ingested, inhaled, or in prolonged contact with skin, leading to gastrointestinal issues, liver and kidney damage, or even death.
  • Skin and Eye Irritation: Direct contact can cause skin redness, itching, and severe eye irritation.
  • Respiratory Issues: Inhaling dust or aerosols can irritate the respiratory tract, causing coughing and shortness of breath.

Environmental Impact

  • Aquatic Toxicity: Excessive use can harm fish and aquatic life, disrupting ecosystems.
  • Soil Contamination: Overuse in agriculture can accumulate copper in soil, affecting soil fertility and plant health.

Safe Handling and Use

  • Protective Gear: It’s crucial for safety to wear gloves, goggles, and masks when handling protective gear.
  • Proper Storage: Store in secure, labeled containers away from food and children.
  • Environmental Consideration: Use judiciously to avoid environmental harm.


What Happens if You Drink Copper Sulfate

Ingesting Copper(II) Sulfate can cause nausea, vomiting, and damage to body organs. Immediate medical attention is crucial.

What Happens if You Touch Copper Sulfate

Direct skin contact with Copper(II) Sulfate may cause irritation or allergic reactions.

What is the Common Name for Copper II Sulfate?

The common name for Copper(II) Sulfate is Blue Vitriol, recognized for its bright blue color.

Is CuSO₄ Ionic or Covalent?

Copper(II) Sulfate (CuSO₄) is an ionic compound, consisting of copper cations (Cu²⁺) and sulfate anions (SO₄²⁻).

What is Aqueous Copper II Sulfate?

Aqueous Copper(II) Sulfate is a blue liquid formed when CuSO₄ dissolves in water, used in many chemical processes.

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