Chemical reactions of the elements

Reaction of copper with air

Copper metal is stable in air under normal conditions. At read heat, copper metal and oxygen react to form Cu2O.

4Cu(s) + O2(g) → 2Cu2O(s)

Reaction of copper with water

Reaction of copper with the halogens

The reaction between copper metal and the halogens fluorine, F2, chlorine, Cl2, or bromine, Br2, affords the corresponding dihalides copper(II) fluoride, CuF2, copper(II) chloride, CuCl2, or copper(II) bromide, CuBr2 respectively.

Cu(s) + F2(g) → CuF2(s) [white]

Cu(s) + Cl2(g) → CuCl2(s) [yellow-brown]

Cu(s) + Br2(g) → CuBr2(s) [black]

Reaction of copper with acids

Copper metal dissolves in hot concentrated sulphuric acid to form solutions containing the aquated Cu(II) ion together with hydrogen gas, H2. In practice, the Cu(II) is present as the complex ion [Cu(OH2)6]2+.

Cu(s) + H2SO4(aq) → Cu2+(aq) + SO42-(aq) + H2(g)

Copper metal also dissolves in dilute or concentrated nitric acid, HNO3.

Reaction of copper with bases

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copper atomic number