Purpose & Overview
Copper chloride is a salt that forms green crystals with various structures. Copper(II) chloride to be precise, for there is also copper(I) chloride.
There are multiple ways of making copper chloride, one of them is by just adding sodium chloride (table salt) to copper sulfate in the right proportion. It's also possible to make copper chloride by combining copper oxide or copper carbonate with hydrochloric acid, or by just adding the elements copper and chlorine. There are other ways, but they are much more difficult and don't yield good results. I might be trying them in the future though.
First I'm going to just use sodium chloride and copper sulfate to produce copper chloride.
- Preparing the chemicals.
- Combining the chemicals.
- Extracting the copper chloride.
What you need
- 1 liter glass beaker
- Glass stirring equipment
- Container (with an airtight seal)
- 1 Pan to place the glass beaker in
- A piece of string or wire (not metal)
- Something to hang the string from
There is not really a chemical reaction taking place, but more of a reordering of atoms.
2NaCl(aq) + CuSO4 -->(Evaporation)--> CuCl2(aq) + Na2SO4(aq)
Theoretically its possible to get 115 grams of copper chloride using 100 grams of sodium chloride and 213 grams of copper sulfate pentahydrate.Top
- Step 1
- Prepare the sodium chloride as described here: making sodium chloride.
- Step 2
- Put the 100 grams of sodium chloride and the 213.62 grams of copper(II) sulfate pentahydrate (or 136,55 grams anhydrous copper(II) sulfate) together in the 500 ml beaker.
- Add 500 milliliters of water.
- Stir well, until nothing dissolves anymore. Crush any big lumps if possible.
- Place the beaker into the pan and fill the pan with water (normal tap water is fine).
- Heat the water in the pan, its ok if it boils, but its not necessary.
- Dissolve any of the remaining chemicals in the hot solution. Keep stirring for a minute.
- Step 3
- Put out the heat and remove the beaker from the pan. Be careful, its hot!.
- Let it cool down until you see crystals forming on the bottom of the beaker. Because its a dark green color, shining into it with a flashlight might help.
- If crystals start to form, hang the thread into the solution, so that 1 or more centimeters is hanging into the solution.
- If any cubic crystals form on the thread, you should remove the thread and hang a new one. Save the crystals though, for they are pure sodium sulfate. You should wash of any left over solution and dry them with some kitchen paper.
- If long needle like crystals grow on the string this is copper chloride. Leave it hanging until the solution has fully cooled down.
- Remove the string from the solution and make sure any excess liquid has dripped of the crystals. You can then dry the crystals with kitchen paper and remove them from the string. Collect them in the air tight jar for future use.
- Step 4
- Filtering the solution will remove any crystals from the bottom of the beaker, sodium sulfate crystals as well as copper chloride crystals. The solution you get will be a saturated solution of copper chloride and sodium sulfate.
- Placing the string back into the solution and letting it slowly evaporate will cause more crystals to grow.
- Its possible to speed the evaporation up by placing the beaker near a heat source or even in the oven.
- The crystals from the filtration process can be collected from various processes. Combining these crystals, dissolvingen them again and repeating the whole crystalization process will give you more copper chloride crystals.
- Repeat the whole process again for more copper chloride crystals.
Is it possible that not only CuCl2 is formed, but also CuCl? Not really, for the solubility of CuCl in water is only 0.062 g/L. If it had formed in large quantities, it would have formed a precipitate.Top
To be continued...Top
A copper chloride solution can be used to react with aluminium and grow dendritic copper crystals using that reaction. Be carefull however, copper chloride is very corrosive.Top
 Specimen from my personal collection, photo taken by me.