Sunday 8 July 2012

Double displacement: The formation of copper carbonate

If you are learning about double displacement, or want to then this is a simple one to try.
How to make copper carbonate:
Safety first:   Always wear goggles and gloves.  After the experiment everyone must wash their hands thoroughly - Copper sulphate is toxic, but fine if treated with care, wash your hands though.
Science is cool and way fun but you do need to be careful ifyou do want to try it out yourself.  Read through all experiments before you begin and make sure you know what you are dealing with and how to conduct the experiment safely.
For this experiment you will need:
  • A small clear container like a plastic cup  (I say clear so you can see what's happening)
  • Filter papers
  • A small funnel that fits one of the small containers
  • Copper sulphate 5ml
  • Sodium carbonate 10ml


Measure 5ml of copper sulphate in 1cm of water in a clear cup.


In a measuring beaker put 40ml of water and 10ml of sodium carbonate. 


When the sodium carbonate is completely dissolved and a solution you can then, carefully, pour 2cm of the sodium carbonate solution into the copper sulphate solution and stir. 


It will change form and what it will look like will vary from a bright sky blue to a greeny blue colour.

Now what you need to do is extract the copper carbonate from the copper sulphate solution, to do this you will need a funnel, another plastic cup and a filter paper. 
Place the filter paper in the funnel and carefully pour the solution you’ve made on top of the filter, like this:

This is how it looks when it’s dry on the filter paper.

You will notice that, even after all the copper sulphate solution has passed through, it will still not be like a powder.  All you can do is wait.  We waited for a whole day during a bout of an English warm summer.

24 hours remember so be patient! 

It is worth the wait.
Once you have done this experiment you can then use the copper carbonate for a different experiment, so bottle it up and label it.  It is harmful to consume, so wash your hands carefully and keep out of reach of pets and young children.

  If you want to know how to write what just happened in scientific terms it’s here:

2 CuSO4 + 2 Na2CO3 + H2O → Cu2(OH)2CO3 + 2 Na2SO4 + CO2


  1. that a redox reaction. Am looking for a redox reaction to demonstrate to ds1 for chem IGCSE.

    Actually I have no idea what I'm talking about.

    Biology was more my thing :)

    1. Here is a good Redox reaction (Oxidation reduction reactions) experiment I done this evening.

      When we take an iron metal nail and dip it into a blue solution of copper (II) sulfate, firstly it changes the solution to iron sulphate which is green in colour. If you leave it the nail becomes covered with a reddish substance. This reddish susbtance is metallic copper. The equation for this is:

      Fe(s) + CuSO4(aq) -> FeSO4(aq) + Cu(s)

      It makes for a really obvious effect. I hope that helps. I'll do a post during the week on different redox reactions now, I'm hooked. I love chemistry. Science is just way too cool! x

  2. Thanks!

    I have A level Chemistry, but absolutely no understanding of chemistry whatsoever. (ditto with maths). Shameful really :) Am trying to approach the subject with enthusiasm, but can't pull it together...

    I learnt more chemistry doing the Ellen McHenry chemistry curricula with the kids than I ever did at school :)

  3. All really great and very informative.