Copper(II) carbonate

Copper(II) carbonate
Copper(II) carbonate
CAS number 1184-64-1
PubChem 14452
ChemSpider 13799 YesY
RTECS number FF950000
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula CuCO3
Molar mass 123.555 g/mol
Density 3.9 g/cm3
Melting point

200 °C

Boiling point

decomposes at 290 °C

Solubility in other solvents insoluble in water, found effective in melting ice, soluble in ethanoic acid
 YesY carbonate (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Copper(II) carbonate (often called copper carbonate or cupric carbonate) is a blue-green compound (chemical formula CuCO3) forming part of the verdigris patina that is found on weathered brass, bronze, and copper. The colour can vary from bright blue to green, because there may be a mixture of both copper carbonate and basic copper carbonate in various stages of hydration. It was formerly much used as a pigment, and is still in use for artist's colours. It has also been used in some types of make-up, like lipstick, although it can also be toxic to humans. It also has been used for many years as an effective algaecide in farm ponds and in aquaculture operations. Copper carbonate was the first compound to be broken down into several, separate elements (copper, carbon, and oxygen). It was broken down in 1794 by the French chemist Joseph Louis Proust (1754–1826). When burnt, it thermally decomposes to form CO2 and CuO, a black solid. It can be used to copper plate a metallic surface by adding sulfuric acid and heat it (to produce copper sulfate) then passing a charge through it with the metal in the liquid. This process is known as electroplating.

Basic copper(II) carbonate patina on roofs of Château Frontenac.

Copper in moist air slowly acquires a dull green coating because its top layer has oxidised with the air. Some architects use this material on rooftops for this interesting colour. The green material is a 1:1 mole mixture of Cu(OH)2 and CuCO3:[1]

2 Cu (s) + H2O (g) + CO2 + O2 → Cu(OH)2 + CuCO3 (s)

Copper carbonate decomposes at 290 °C, giving off carbon dioxide and leaving copper(II) oxide:

CuCO3 (s) → CuO (s) + CO2 (g)

Basic copper(II) carbonate occurs naturally as malachite (Cu2(OH)2CO3) and azurite (Cu3(OH)2(CO3)2).



Copper carbonate is prepared by combining aqueous solutions of copper sulfate and sodium carbonate. Copper basic carbonate precipitates from the solution:

2 CuSO4 + 2 Na2CO3 + H2O → Cu2(OH)2CO3 + 2 Na2SO4 + CO2

The formation of copper carbonate can be verified in the following steps: a) Centrifuge the above mentioned solution, 1 minute at 6000 g is sufficient b) Wash the precipitate with distilled water and centrifuge again c) The colour of the precipitate is blue, like that of several copper salts but none of the sodium salts d) If dilute (1M) hydrochloric acid is added, then bubbles of CO2 will emerge and the precipitate will be fully solubilised. These would not be formed if dilute hydrochloric acid was added to solid Na2SO4.

Pure copper carbonate is obtained from basic copper carbonate in the presence of carbon dioxide at 180 °C and 4.6 MPa (46 atm) pressure.[citation needed]


1) Reaction with acids:

copper carbonate reacts with acids and gives carbon dioxide and corresponding copper(II) salts of that acid:

  • copper carbonate + hydrochloric acid → copper chloride + water + carbon dioxide:
CuCO3 + 2HCl → CuCl2 + H2O + CO2
  • copper carbonate + sulfuric acid → copper sulfate + water + carbon dioxide:
CuCO3 + H2SO4 → CuSO4 + H2O + CO2
  • copper carbonate + nitric acid → copper nitrate + water + carbon dioxide:
CuCO3 + 2HNO3 → Cu(NO3)2 + H2O + CO2
  • copper carbonate + acetic acid → copper acetate + water + carbon dioxide:
CuCO3 + 2CH3COOH → Cu(CH3COO)2 + H2O +CO2

2) Decomposition:

  • copper carbonate decomposes at 290°C and forms copper(II) oxide:

CuCO3 → CuO + CO2


  1. ^ Masterson, W. L., & Hurley, C. N. (2004). Chemistry: Principals and Reactions, 5th Ed. Thomson Learning, Inc. (p 498).

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Copper(II) oxide — IUPAC name Copper(II) oxide …   Wikipedia

  • Copper(II) hydroxide — Copper(II) hydroxide …   Wikipedia

  • Copper(II) chloride — Anhydrous Anhydrous …   Wikipedia

  • Copper(II) acetate — Small crystals of copper(II) acetate Copper(II) acetate crystals on copper wire …   Wikipedia

  • Copper phosphate — is the salt of copper and phosphoric acid with the chemical formula Cu3(PO4)2. Its color ranges from blue to green and is insoluble in water. Copper phosphate has a molecular weight of 380.581 g/mol. It may be formed by …   Wikipedia

  • Copper — For other uses, see Copper (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • Copper pesticide — A copper pesticide is a copper compound used as a pesticide or fungicide. In the UK the Soil Association (one of the organic certification authorities) permits farmers to use some copper fungicides on organic land used for the production of… …   Wikipedia

  • Copper aspirinate — Copper aspirinate …   Wikipedia

  • Copper(II) sulfate — Crystal of CuSO4·5H2O Anhydrous CuSO4 powder …   Wikipedia

  • Copper sheathing — was the practice of protecting the under water hull of a ship or boat through the use of copper plates affixed to the outside of the hull. It was pioneered and developed by the Royal Navy during the 18th century. Contents 1 Development 2 Humphry… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”