Make Copper Metal from Copper Sulfate

It’s been quite a while since my last video, and I’m sorry for the long wait! I just bought my first home a little over a month ago, and it’s taken a good while to get settled in. Switching over all my utilities, carting my stuff over, and signing mountains of paperwork has kept me quite busy! Now things have finally settled down enough where I can start doing some science again, and more videos will be forthcoming from my new laboratory space 🙂 I have a lot of things planned!

This experiment was a two step process to recover copper metal from copper sulfate, a commonly available stump remover chemical. In the first step, I reacted it with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to form copper carbonate. After filtering and drying, the second step of the process required mixing the copper carbonate with carbon and heating strongly for about 20 minutes. The reactions are as follows:
CuSo4 + 2NaHCO3 == CuCO3 + Na2SO4 + H2O + CO2
2CuCO3 + C == 2Cu + 3CO2
Some of the CuCO3 also decomposes into CuO in a side reaction upon heating.

As for the results, I think that if I had heated it to a higher temperature it may have helped the copper formed to coagulate together into a single mass. Also, I should have ground the reactants together and mixed them more thoroughly, to maximize the surface area of the reaction. Perhaps I’ll try both in the future.

Credit for the idea for this experiment goes to Mr. Robert Bruce Thompson, aka TheHomeScientist here on YouTube. I got the idea from his book, The Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments, which is a great resource for students and hobbyists alike (and no, he didn’t pay me to say that!). Go check out his channel for some more excellent chemistry videos!

As always, thanks for watching, and again sorry about the long wait!