Copper sulfate, also known as 'blue stone' or 'blue vitriol', is a chemical compound, used in a wide range of industries. The basic chemical formula of copper sulfate is 'CuSO4', but the salt exists as a series of different compounds, depending on the degree of hydration. 'Chalcocyanite', the anhydrous form of copper sulfate, occurs as a rare mineral and exists as pale green or grayish white powder. Read about other chemical elements.
The various hydrated forms of copper sulfate include trihydrates, pentahydrates and heptahydrates, however, copper sulfate pentahydrate (CuSO4.5H2O), is the most commonly encountered salt. It is bright blue in color and is known 'chalcanthite'. The bright blue color of the hydrated copper sulfate crystals is due to the presence of water of crystallization and is the best way to distinguish between the anhydrous and hydrated forms. Let us read more about copper sulfate and copper sulfate uses.
Copper sulfate can be prepared in the laboratory by reacting various compounds of copper (II) with sulfuric acid. However, it is commercially available on a large scale and is an economic source of copper. Copper sulfate pentahydrate, readily dissolves in water, and is also soluble in methanol, glycerol and to some extent in ethanol. When the blue crystals of copper sulfate are heated in an open flame, they are dehydrated and turn grayish white.
Uses of Copper Sulfate
Copper sulfate is a versatile chemical compound having a wide range of applications in agriculture as well as pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Let us have a look at some copper sulfate uses.
Copper Sulfate Uses in Agriculture
• Copper sulfate pentahydrate is commonly used as a fungicide to control various bacterial and fungal diseases of crops, fruits and vegetables, such as mildew, leaf spots, blights and apple scab.
• Mixture of copper sulfate and ammonium carbonate, known as Chestnut compound, is used as a soil sterilizer or in horticulture to prevent seedlings from damping off.
• It is used in the preparation of Bordeaux mixture, along with lime, which is used for leaf application and seed treatment for treating fungal diseases on grapes, melons and other berries.
• Copper sulfate pentahydrate is used as a molluscicide, to repel and kill slugs and snails.
• Its use as an algaecide to prevent algal growth.
Copper Sulfate Uses in Chemical Industry
• Copper sulfate is often used in the preparation of catalysts for several reactions in many industries.
• The anhydrous form of copper sulfate catalyzes many processes like the transacetylation in organic synthesis.
• It is used in purification of gases by removal of hydrogen chloride and hydrogen sulphide.
• The use of copper sulfate in preparation of dyestuff intermediates and catalyzing the synthesis of diazo compounds and pthalocyanine dyes is very common.
• Copper sulfate is used as an electrolyte in electroplating and also used in some precipitation reactions.
• It is used as an additive in adhesives.
• Copper sulfate serves as a coloring agent for glass, cement and ceramics.
• Copper sulfate is also used in a lot of chemistry sets for undertaking various experiments.
Copper Sulfate Uses in Public Health and Medicine
• Copper sulfate is used as a fungicide not only in agriculture, but also as an antiseptic and germicide against fungal infections in humans.
• Incorporating copper sulfate in floor cleaning mixtures helps in preventing athlete's foot in tropical countries.
• Copper sulfate is used in the preparation of Paris green, to kill mosquito larvae that cause malaria.
• It is used to keep algal blooms away, especially from the swimming pools and water reservoirs.
• Copper sulfate helps in eradicating snails that harbor the parasite responsible for causing Schistosomiasis in humans.
So, this was all about copper sulfate uses. Apart from the above uses of copper sulfate, it is also used in preparation of wood preservatives to protect timber from wood worms and wood rots. It is also used as a mordant in dyeing and as a reagent in tanning process. Moreover, growing copper sulfate crystals is one of the common science fair projects for middle school and high school children. Hope you found the above information helpful!