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Copper Reaction

Melced Czar T. Benasas Alvin John Bahia Louie Jay P. Ballenas Lewis Trevor

De La Salle University-Dasmarias Dasmarias City, Cavite, Philippines


We know that Copper is a chemical element which is known to have an ability to be re-used. A specific amount of copper wire was used to a series of different procedures and reaction. Nitric acid was poured in a beaker with the pieces copper wire in the fume hood while being stirred. When smoke is no longer being produced. Put distilled water then sodium hydroxide in the experiment .The mixture was then boiled and filtered. The filtrate, upon adding sulfuric acid was dissolved and a zinc metal was added. The mixture was then heated, washed with methanol and acetone and decanted after each washing. The yield was completely dried using the water bath before weighing. The percentage yield was then computed. The Zinc metal was in-reactive and takes a lot of time to dissolve so our teacher asked us to remove the chip and calculate the dissolved powder left in the container thus obtaining a percentage yield of 54% of the original amount of copper.


We noticed that some elements can be produced, extracted, and re-used using chemical reactions. With this a recyclable element would have the same amount from the beginning of a series of chemical reactions until it ends. This is because the amount of element in the reagent would be present in the product of a reaction. Though the amount of element from the beginning of an experiment like copper reactions should have the same yield, But this is not always true because there are factors that may affect the yield of the experiment like if the items being dissolved is still reactive, filtration, decanting and extracting techniques that may have left particles of the element when not properly extracted.


We placed pieces of copper wires with a mass of 0.685g and was placed in a 250 mL beaker. 4.0mL of 16m nitric acid (HNO3) was added under the hood to dissolve the copper wires. The beaker was swirled occasionally until no fumes were being produced. Distilled water was then added filling the beaker up to its half. Afterwards, 30mL of 6M sodium hydroxide (NaOH) was added to the reaction mixture. The mixture was boiled with 2 pieces of boiling chips. The boiled mixture was filtered using a filter paper. The filtrate was dissolved by adding 15mL of 6M sulfuric acid (H2SO4). A sheet of zinc metal which weighed 2g was added. The mixture was placed under the hood until the zinc metal completely reacted. The reaction mixture was then heated until no gas is being produced. The mixture was cooled in room temperature. It was then decanted after washing with 10mL methanol and 10mL acetone. A water bath was used to completely dry the solid.


The initial mass of the pieces of copper wires is 0.685g.

Solid copper reacts with nitric acid, becoming a blue solution of cupric nitrate and water, and nitrogen oxide. The reaction is a combination of single displacement reaction and decomposition reaction, and is expressed as

Cupric nitrate solution reacts with aqueous sodium hydroxide and produces blue cupric hydroxide and aqueous sodium nitrate. The reaction involved is double displacement reaction.

Copper hydroxide and sodium nitrate mixture was heated forming copper oxide (the black precipitate) and water, with the following reaction called decomposition:

The filtrate or the black precipitate, copper oxide (CuO), was obtained using a filter paper to which sulfuric acid was added. Together they produce a blue mixture of copper sulfate and water, with the following double displacement reaction

A zinc metal, weighing 2g, was added to the obtained copper sulfate and water mixture. When the zinc metal has completely disintegrated in the copper sulfate, it produces copper and zinc sulfate. The reaction is called single displacement and expressed as:

After cooling the copper to room temperature, washing it with methanol, decanting it, washing it with acetone, decanting it again, and drying it through water bath, the pre-weighed 112.949g beaker with copper was weighed. The mass of copper and beaker was 113.320g. The recovery mass of copper was calculated by subtracting the mass of beaker from the mass of the beaker and recovered copper. (Note that a part of the Zinc metal was removed because our teacher told us that it takes a long time to dissolve)

Mass of recovered copper = 113.320g 112.949g SMass of recovered Copper = 0.371g

The percent yield is calculated with ratio of the actual yield (mass of recovered copper) and thetheoretical yield (initial mass of copper wire), multiplied to 100.

Percentage yield = 54.16%

The percentage yield of copper is 54.16%.


(1) Samonte, J. L., & Figueroa, L. V. (2007).General chemistry laboratory manual (pg. 27 Chemical rd Reaction) 3 edition. Philippines: C&E Publishing Inc. (2) Chang, R. (2008).General chemistry: the essential concepts. 5thedition. N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Inc.