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Copper(II) nitrate is an inorganic salt with the chemical formula Cu(NO3)2. It’s an important ingredient for photographic development, metal patinas and textile dyeing. It’s also used in agriculture, for wood preservatives and in light-sensitive paper manufacturing. It’s soluble in water and alcohol. It’s a strong oxidizing agent and forms colored compounds with most metals, including zinc and iron. It’s used as a mordant in textile dyeing to fix the color into the fibers of the fabric. It’s also used in chemistry experiments and by artists for creating metal patinas, which give the metal a green or blue finish.
The reaction for making copper nitrate starts with solid copper being oxidized by a strong reducing agent, nitric acid. This reacts to form water and copper nitrate, which is a greenish-brownish solution. When the solution is diluted with water, the nitrate ions dissociate into copper(II) and nitrogen ions, and the solution turns blue as a result of the formation of the copper(II) hydroxide precipitate.
To make copper(II) nitrate, take 150 mL of deionized water and measure 8 mL of the solution into a 400-mL beaker. Put on your lab coat, safety goggles and gloves before beginning the experiment. Slowly add the 8 mL of the 8 M nitric acid to the beaker, while stirring with a stirring rod. Once the copper nitrate is dissolved in the water, let it sit and cool. As it cools, a dark copper oxide crystal will fall to the bottom of the beaker and a clear, colorless liquid (the supernatant) will separate towards the top. The supernatant is the aqueous waste and should be poured into a suitable waste container.