History of Cuprous Chloride


Cuprous Chloride, commonly called Copper chloride, is t […]

Cuprous Chloride, commonly called Copper chloride, is the lower chloride of copper, with the formula CuCl. The substance is a white solid sparingly soluble in water, but very soluble in concentrated hydrochloric acid. Impure samples appear green due to the presence of copper(II) chloride (CuCl2). Cuprous Chloride was first prepared by Robert Boyle in the mid-seventeenth century from mercury(II) chloride and copper metal: HgCl2 + 2 Cu → 2 CuCl + Hg

In 1799, J.L. Proust characterized the two different chlorides of copper. He prepared CuCl by heating CuCl2 at red heat in the absence of air, causing it to lose half of its combined chlorine followed by removing residual CuCl2 by washing with water. An acidic solution of CuCl was formerly used for analysis of carbon monoxide content in gases, for example in Hempel's gas apparatus. This application was significant during the time that coal gas was widely used for heating and lighting, during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Cuprous Chloride is produced industrially by the direct combination of copper metal and chlorine at 450–900 °C:2 Cu + Cl2 → 2 CuCl

Copper(I) chloride can also be prepared by reducing copper(II) chloride, e.g. with sulfur dioxide or a reducing sugar such as Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C):2 CuCl2 + SO2 + 2 H2O → 2 CuCl + H2SO4 + 2 HCl

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