Making Copper Ii Acetate

Copper (II) Acetate exists as beautiful blue-green coloured crystals in its solid form. Containing Copper in its 2+ oxidation state, crystals of Copper (II) Acetate have the ability to turn fire green! As well, it can be used to form copper plating solutions. Using household meterials, it is possible to make very pure copper (II) acetate of your own!

Required Materials

First, you will need a source of copper metal. It should be reasonably pure. A good source of copper is electrical copper wire. Pennies work well too, but few pennies these days are solid copper. (Old Canadian pennies are though.) Note that defacing currency such as pennies may be against the law in your jurisdiction.

Next, you will need hydrogen peroxide. This is sold as a disinfectant at most supermarkets in 3% solution (10 volume). The higher concentration, the better. However, high concentration peroxide can be dangerous, so be careful in handling it.

You will need a non-metallic container which can be heated. Laboratory glassware and etcetera work well here. Of course, you will need a heat source to go with it. The heat source and heat-able container are not absolutely necessary, but they make the process much, much faster. However, the container in any case can not be made of metal.

Next, you will need acetic acid. This is sold in 5% solution as vinegar in most supermarkets. Once again, the higher the concentration, the better.

The Procedure

Fill the container with a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.

Add the copper source to the container. Switch on the heat if available. Note: At this point, keep the temperature of the solution below boiling.

Bubbles should begin emmenating from the copper source. The solution should gradually turn blue.

Once the bubbles have slowed, add either extra peroxide or vinegar to keep the reaction going. (Experiment to see which re-starts the reaction.)

Once a satisfactory amount of copper (II) acetate (the blue colour in the solution) has been produced, heat the container such that the water evaporates. This should be done outdoors or in a fume hood. Do not heat the solution if high-concentration peroxide was used. Do not breathe vapours or put your face in the vapours or anything else like that.

Do not let the temperature of the boiling water exceed 100C by too much – you may damage your copper (II) acetate!

Once the water has been evaporated off, you will be left with your copper (II) acetate! Enjoy!

Note: If a heat source / container that can be heated was not available, simply perform the above steps without heat. The reaction will take a lot longer. Finally, remove the water by letting it evaporate in the sun.