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Copper(II) carbonate
Copper (II) carbonate
Other names copper carbonate, cupric carbonate, basic copper carbonate
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Copper(II) carbonate (often called copper carbonate or cupric carbonate) is a blue-green compound (chemical formula CuCO3) forming part of the verdigris patina one sees on weathered brass, bronze, and copper. The colour can vary from bright blue to green, because there may be a mixture of both copper carbonate and basic copper carbonate in various stages of hydration. It was formerly much used as a pigment, and is still in use for artist's colours. It has also been used in some types of make-up, like lipstick, although it can also be toxic to humans. It also has been used for many years as an effective algaecide in farm ponds and in aquaculture operations. Copper carbonate was the first compound to be broken down into several, separate elements (copper, carbon, and oxygen). It was broken down in 1794 by the French chemist Joseph Louis Proust (1754–1826).When burnt, it thermally decomposes to form CO2 and CuO, a black solid. It can be used to bronze plate a metallic surface by adding sulfuric acid and heat it then passing a charge through it with the metal in the liquid.

Copper in moist air slowly acquires a dull green coating because its top layer has oxidised with the air. Some architects use this material on rooftops for the interesting colour. The green material is a 1:1 mole mixture of Cu(OH)2 and CuCO3:[1]

2 Cu (s) + H2O (g) + CO2 + O2 → Cu(OH)2 + CuCO3 (s)

Copper carbonate decomposes at high temperatures, giving off carbon dioxide and leaving copper(II) oxide:

CuCO3 (s) → CuO (s) + CO2 (g)

Basic copper(II) carbonate occurs naturally as malachite (CuCO3.Cu(OH)2) and azurite (Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2).


  1. ^ Masterson, W. L., & Hurley, C. N. (2004). Chemistry: Principals and Reactions, 5th Ed. Thomson Learning, Inc. (p 498).

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Simple English

File:Basic copper(II)
A mixture of copper(II) carbonate and copper(II) hydroxide. It is normally mixed like that.

Copper(II) carbonate, also known as cupric carbonate, is a chemical compound. Its chemical formula is CuCO3. It contains copper in its +2 oxidation state. It also contains carbonate ions.



Copper(II) carbonate is a blue-green solid. It is made when copper is in air for a long time and turns green. The other part of that coating is copper(II) hydroxide. It dissolves in acids to make carbon dioxide and a copper salt. It breaks down when heated to make carbon dioxide and copper(II) oxide.


It can be made by leaving copper(II) hydroxide in air, which makes copper(II) carbonate. It can also be made by reacting copper sulfate and sodium carbonate. This makes sodium sulfate in solution.


Copper(II) carbonate can be used to kill algae. It is also used as a pigment.


It can irritate the skin. It is toxic since it dissolves in stomach acid to make copper ions in solution, which can be absorbed.

See also


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