- Copper(II) oxide
Copper(II) oxide Identifiers CAS number PubChem ChemSpider UNII RTECS number GL7900000 Jmol-3D images Image 1
Properties Molecular formula CuO Molar mass 79.545 g/mol Appearance black powder Density 6.31 g/cm3 Melting point
1201 °C (1474 K)
Solubility in water insoluble Solubility in Ammonium hydroxide soluble Band gap 1.2 eV Structure Crystal structure monoclinic, mS8 Space group C2/c, #15 Lattice constant a = 4.6837, b = 3.4226, c = 5.1288 Lattice constant α = 90°, β = 99.54°, γ = 90° Hazards MSDS Fischer Scientific EU Index Not listed EU classification Harmful (Xn)
Dangerous for the environment (N)
NFPA 704 Flash point Non-flammable Related compounds Other anions Copper(II) sulfide Other cations Nickel(II) oxide
Related compounds Copper(I) oxide (what is: /?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
It is a black solid with an ionic structure which melts above 1200 °C with some loss of oxygen. It can be formed by heating copper in air:
- 2 Cu + O2 → 2 CuO
- 2 Cu(NO3)2 → 2 CuO + 4 NO2 + O2
- Cu(OH)2 (s) → CuO (s) + H2O (l)
- CuCO3 → CuO + CO2
- CuO + 2 HNO3 → Cu(NO3)2 + H2O
- CuO + 2 HCl → CuCl2 + H2O
- CuO + H2SO4 → CuSO4 + H2O
It reacts with concentrated alkali to form the corresponding cuprate salts:
- 2 XOH + CuO + H2O → X2[Cu(OH)4]
- CuO + H2 → Cu + H2O
- CuO + CO → Cu + CO2
A laboratory method for preparing copper(II) oxide is to electrolyze water containing sodium bicarbonate at a moderate voltage with a copper anode, collect the mixture of copper hydroxide, basic copper carbonate, and copper carbonate produced, and heat it.
Copper(II) oxide belongs to the monoclinic crystal system, with a crystallographic point group of 2/m or C2h. The space group of its unit cell is C2/c, and its lattice parameters are a = 4.6837(5), b = 3.4226(5), c = 5.1288(6), α = 90° , β = 99.54(1)°, γ = 90°. The copper atom is coordinated by 4 oxygen atoms in an approximately square planar configuration.
the unit cell of copper(II) oxide part of the crystal structure of CuO
Copper(II) oxide is an irritant. It also can cause damage to the endocrine and central nervous system. Contact to the eyes or skin can cause irritation. Ingesting cupric oxide powder can result in a metallic taste, nausea, vomiting and stomach pain. In more severe cases, there may be blood in vomit or black or tarry stools, jaundice and enlarged liver. Blood cells rupture resulting in circulatory collapse and shock. Inhalation can lead to damage to the lungs and septum. Inhalation of fumes during smelting of cupric oxide powder can lead to a disease called metal fume fever, which can result in flu like symptoms. Copper (II) oxide can cause a toxic build-up of copper in a small subset of the population with Wilson's disease. Handling copper (II) oxide powder should be done in well ventilated area, and care should be taken to avoid contact with the skin or eyes. However copper is an essential trace element for the normal function of many tissues, including the nervous system, immune system, heart, skin and for the formation of capillaries  as well as copper being extremely well metabolized by humans. Copper oxide is used in vitamins supplements as a safe source of copper and over-the-counter treatments. Copper oxide is also used in consumer products such as pillowcases and socks, due to its cosmetic and anti-microbial properties. The risk of dermal sensitivity to copper is considered extremely minimal.
Cupric oxide is used as a pigment in ceramics to produce blue, red, and green (and sometimes gray, pink, or black) glazes. It is also used to produce cuprammonium hydroxide solutions, used to make rayon. It is also occasionally used as a dietary supplement in animals, against copper deficiency. Copper(II) oxide has application as a p-type semiconductor, because it has a narrow band gap of 1.2 eV. It is an abrasive used to polish optical equipment. Cupric oxide can be used to produce dry cell batteries. It has also been used in wet cell batteries as the cathode, with lithium as an anode, and dioxalane mixed with lithium perchlorate as the electrolyte. Copper(II) oxide can be used to produce other copper salts. It is also used when welding with copper alloys.
Another use for cupric oxide is as a substitute for iron oxide in thermite. This can turn the thermite from an incendiary to a low explosive.
Use in disposal
Here are equations depicting the decomposition of phenol and pentachlorophenol, respectively, with copper oxide:
- C6H5OH + 14CuO → 6CO2 + 3H2O + 14Cu
- C6Cl5OH + 2H2O + 9CuO → 6CO2 + 5HCl + 9Cu
- ^ a b c The effect of hydrostatic pressure on the ambient temperature structure of CuO, Forsyth J.B., Hull S., J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 3 (1991) 5257-5261 , doi:10.1088/0953-8984/3/28/001
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