pile of black cupric oxide

4 Uses of Cupric Oxide (Copper II Oxide)

Copper II Oxide (CuO) is better known as Cupric Oxide or black copper oxide. It is found in nature in the mineral tenorite and cuprite. The other stable form of copper oxide is Copper I Oxide, cuprous oxide, but this oxide is readily oxidized to cupric oxide in moist air. The primary use of CuO is to make copper salts and compounds but finds use in other applications such as pottery glazes to produce blue, green or red colors. Its use in fireworks and pyrotechnics produces a moderate blue color when used with chlorates and other chlorinated oxidizers such as perchlorates. 

Cupric Oxide in Ceramic Formulations 

Copper Oxide is one of the earliest colorants used by potters. As previously described, it is used to produce a blue gray in a 50% mixture with frit, a green color in oxidizing firings up to 5% where it moves toward black, and a vibrant red color in reduction firings. It can be used as a wash and as a brushed-on application on bisqueware. It is used with enamel frits to increase the adherence of glazes. When used as a flux it can decrease the melting temperature required to increase the fluidity in the melt of the glaze. 

Cupric Oxide in Fireworks and Pyrotechnics 

Other than the aforementioned use to produce a moderate blue color it can be used as a flash powder oxidizer because of its fast reaction with magnesium, aluminum, or a combination of the two, magnalium powder. When used in a thermite reaction it reacts quickly to form large amounts of molten copper metal that is known to send out droplets of molten metal and should be treated with extreme caution. This is used for welding thick copper wires in electrical connections. It is sometimes used in fireworks to produce a strobe or crackling stars effect. 

What About Cupric Oxide in Vitamin or Mineral Supplements?

Although it is a common ingredient in some over-the-counter supplements it has been shown to have extremely low absorption and is of no real benefit to the user. It may even be harmful when combined with other supplements such as zinc and/or vitamin C as it may cause a copper deficiency in the individual. Copper Sulfate has been proven to be far superior as a copper supplement. 

Copper Compounds or Salts 

Cupric oxide readily dissolves in mineral acids such as sulfuric acid, nitric acid and hydrochloric acid to give the corresponding copper(II) salts (copper sulfate, nitrate and chloride respectively). It can also be dissolved in strong organic acid solutions such as oxalic, tartaric, citric, acetate and formic acid forming oxalates, tartrates, citrates, acetates and formates. 

Noah Chemicals manufactures and offers high-quality Cupric Oxide and its compounds for use in a wide variety of applications. For more information about how Noah Chemicals can provide you with the highest quality chemicals you need, please contact us here or call (888) 291-1186. 

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