Making Copper (II) Chloride From Acid and Copper

Ok, so last 4th I made fireworks for a small- and I mean small- display, and it turned out fairly well. I only had two complaints-
a) It wasn't that colorful, as I was only using pine and palm charcoal for color: reddish orange.
b)it wasn't electrical, and took alot of visco, as I wanted everything to go off near-instantaneously.

Well, I am going to solve problem b by getting e-matches off of Skylighter, but solving a is a little harder. Then, I read that certain copper compounds could be added to create a green to green-blue color in the flame. Well, I like that idea, but I didn't know where to get the copper compounds. So I kinda left it.
I found this page on making copper (II) chloride. Well, it seemed straightforward enough, so I was going to try it. I was only wondering about two things:
a) why on the description on this page about it include hydrogen peroxide, but the page does not even mention it?
b)is this safe? I guess I should be outside for the hotplate part- I can't imagine boiling/simmering HCI, inside.
c) is this even possible? Does it:
1)create a form of copper that could be used with success in pyrotechnics?
2)create copper chloride at all?

Any answers are appreciated. Even if they don't directly pertain to the topic, POST ANYWAY! Makes it more interesting.

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BrandonM13210 months ago

Copper is a noble metal, and as such is very hard to corrode or dissolve. the reason that hydrogen peroxide is used in this reaction is because the hydrochloric acid cannot directly attack the copper metal. hydrogen peroxide can attack copper rendering copper hydroxide, after which the acid can protonate the hydroxide creating water and a salt of copper chloride. this process requires no heat as the creation of the hydroxide is fairly exothermic and follows the equation :

H2O2 + Cu --> Cu(OH)2

Cu(OH)2 + 2HCl --> CuCl2 + 2(H2O)

Furthermore you can create copper chloride by just bubbling air through a vessel that contains both metallic copper and hydrochloric acid with no heat needed following the equation: O2+4HCl+2Cu --> 2(CuCl2)+2(H2O)

I would also like to state that i have no background in chemistry and this is correct to the best of my knowledge. i have personally only used the peroxide method as the bubbling method takes far longer.

well, i know why it mentioned the hydrogen peroxide, yes, hot hcl wil react with copper chloride in metal for, but it must be strong, now, what about copper oxide? all acids react with oxides of all sorts to produce water (h20) and a salt i think that if you rust your copper, you will get copper oxide, which doesnt colour a flame, but tdoes hold oxeygen, now react hcl will that and youll have this reation CuO+hcl== CuCl+h2O , perhaps not in that exact proprtion but it will happen all the same depending on how much oxygen the copper holds, . to rust the copper simmply run an electric current through the copper into water and into copper again, during that proceess copper carbonate will be made wich i know colours flames green, this will also react with hcl to make copper chlorie in the same way vinaar reacts with bicarb soda
NachoMahma10 years ago
. Pure Cu will add color to the flame. Don't know that it will work, but I'd try Cu powder, before trying to work with hot HCl. . . a) going by the description, all it does is speed up the reaction and is not required. Don't remember using it in HS Chem class. . b) not particularly, but with proper safety precautions you should be able to keep from harming yourself. Definitely do it outside and do NOT breathe the vapors. Don't even let the vapors get on your clothes - hot HCl is bad stuff. . c1) don't know for sure, but since elemental Cu will color a flame, I'd suspect that the chloride form is just easier to handle. It may produce more intense colors than Cu. . c2) sounds just like what we did in HS Chem class, but that was 30 years ago.
 I'm in high school chem right now and actually asked my teacher about why I always see the coloring agents in compounds rather than as you said just powdered form. If I remember correctly, the chloride or whatever the metal is bonded to aids in combustion of the metal. Whether powdered copper will work or not, I am not sure, but as soon as I figure out how to somehow powder copper, I will test how it burns. 
John Smith (author)  NachoMahma10 years ago
Thanks. It has been breezy, so should I just not do it, or would the breeze be better, as it would carry away, and dilute the fumes? I've gotten whiffs of it before, and I understand that it is not something to play around with. I had a feeling it was to speed up the reaction, as I've heard of it being used for that before
. Since you are unsure, I'd have to say it's not for you. If you decide to go ahead, make sure you stay upwind (watch out for shifts in wind direction) and wear goggles that are splash-resistant (safety glasses aren't good enough), "rubber" gloves with high gauntlets, and a "rubber" apron. Make sure you can kill the power to the hot plate from a safe distance. It sounds like a lot of hassle, but hot HCl is very dangerous. . If you need to dilute the acid, you should to be aware that the process produces a lot of heat (exothermic) and it's possible for your solution to boil and splash all over the place.
-Aj- NachoMahma9 years ago

when diluting an acid ALWAYS ADD ACID TO WATER. and do it SLOWLY
that will fix any problems you might have with it boiling.
lucek9 years ago
all copper compounds will release a green flame. but the intensity is the question. a fairly safe one to test is Copper oxide. (just copper rust) best advise experiment. btw sodium chloride gives you a bright yellow, and potassium chloride gives you purple. thees are both used in table salts.
westfw10 years ago
I've made CuCl from metallic copper and HCl and H2O2 (mainly for etching circuit boards, but pyrotechnics was in the back of my mind), and my experience is that HCl won't dissolve copper very well at all without the peroxide. An air bubbler helps too. An excess of copper and air seems to yield copper oxychloride, which is a more common colorant for pyrotechnics than copper chloride. The HCl/CuCl mist you get from a bubbler will drift around and cause things to corrode that you thought were "stainless."

You might have better luck finding literature on CuCl etchant, rather than CuCl prep for pyrotechnics. There's even An instructable on the process

Copper chloride OUGHT to give you BLUE flames if the flame is of an appropriate temperature. If it gets to got you'll get the green emissions of copper/copper hydroxide ions, by the CuCl- ion will give you blue.

John Smith (author)  westfw10 years ago
Thanks, that helped alot. I was going to link to that, actually. Will it work with hydrogen peroxide concentrations that you'd find in a drugstore?
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