The Amateur Chemist

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Synthesis of Copper II Acetate

This experiment outlines what I think is a very easy way to make copper acetate.  There are many ways that you could synthesize this chemical.  This method will yield copper acetate the easiest, however, it will probably not yield you the most copper acetate for your time. If you are interested in making a large amount (>50 grams), I would try combining aqueous solutions of sodium acetate and copper carbonate, then separate it from the sodium carbonate somehow.

In this method, all you need is copper metal, vinegar, and regular hydrogen peroxide.  These are all OTC chemicals and very easy to get. To start, combine around equal amounts of the 3% hydrogen peroxide, and the vinegar (5% acetic acid).  Put this on a hotplate, burner, etc. and heat it until it is almost boiling. Take it off the hotplate, and immediately add the copper metal.  The mixture should start to bubble vigorously, for quite a while. Mine bubbled for around 5 minutes.  I am not completely sure how this reaction exactly works, but to my knowledge the hydrogen peroxide is acting as an oxidizing agent in the acidic (acetic acid) conditions.  It oxidizes the copper metal, leaving it open to the vinegar (acetic acid) to react with it, forming copper (II) acetate.

Cu+0(aq) + H2O2 +  2 H+(aq) →  Cu+2(aq) + 2 H2O(l)
Cu+2 +  C2H4O2 ----> Cu(CH3CO2)2

Simply wait until it is done reacting, then pour it out onto a large evaporating dish (anything large and flat that can hold liquid). Ideally, the liquid should only be several mm thick. This will let it crystallize within several days max.  The thicker it is, the longer it will take.

Below, I will add some pictures of my copper acetate. It has a very distinctive color to it.  It is a darkish blue color with some lighter blue spots depending on crystal size, level of hydration, etc.  It is actually quite hard to describe.  It is very beautiful though. If you look closely you can see the actual crystal structure, which is very cool as well.