Define chemical element

Copper is a chemical element naturally reddish-brown. Apart from being a good conductor or electricity, the element is found in group two of the periodic table. It is found as a mineral of many mineral forms such as cuprite, bornite, azurite, and chalcocite. Copper also occurs in plants and animals. The commercial production of copper occurs through smelting as it is extracted from its natural ores. The element is highly reactive to oxidizing acids such as nitric acid as we shall see later in the experiment. Some properties of copper include having an atomic number of 29, valence of 1 and 2, and atomic weight of 63.546.


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The purpose the experiment is to observe various properties of copper and how it reacts with various components. 

1. It aims at cycling solid copper through a series of chemical forms via phase reactions

2. Learn about different types of solvent reactions

3. Calculate percentage concentration of copper.

Experiment 1


The first experiment involved the reaction of copper and concentrated nitric acid. 0.5g of copper was weighed and placed in a 250ml beaker. 5.0ml of concentrated nitric acid was then added. The nitric acid was poured until it covered the copper metals. The copper was allowed to dissolve.


The colorless conc. Nitric acid is poured on the brown copper metals. A reddish brown gas is produced.

4HNO3(l) + Cu(s) =Cu(NO3)2(aq) + 2NO2(g) + 2H2O(l)


The Colorless liquid is the concentrated nitric acid. The gas produced is the Nitrogen (IV) Oxide. The solution formed is copper (II) nitrate. The rationale behind the reaction is that concentrated nitric acid is a strong oxidizing agent. The experiment demonstrated the oxidization of Cu (s) to Cu+2 (aq). 

Experiment 2


The next procedure was to add 20ml 6M NaOH onto the sample from experiment 1 above. 


There is the production of a light blue precipitate 


CU(NO3)2(aq) + 2NaOH(aq) = Cu(OH)2(s) + 2NaNO3(aq)


The light blue precipitate is the copper (II) hydroxide. The compound does not dissolve in water, for that reason, it forms a precipitate. 

Experiment 3

Procedure involved putting the content f experiment 3 above in a hot water bath.


The blue precipitate changes to black


Cu(OH)2(s) + heat= CuO


When Copper II Oxide is heated, it produces Copper II Oxide and water.

Experiment 4


Dilute sulphuric acid is added to copper II oxide. 


A blue solution is formed

CUO(s) + H2SO4(aq)= CUSO4(aq) + H20(l)


The solution formed is called Copper II Sulphate. The reaction is neutralization reaction and involves a base and an acid.