Thermal Decomposition of Copper Crabonate

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The Thermal Decomposition of Copper Carbonate

Copper carbonate goes through thermal decomposition to form one of these oxides. The two possible equations are:

Equation 1: 2CuCO(s) CuO (s) + 2 CO (g) + 1/2 O (g)

Equation 2: CuCO (s) CuO (s) + CO (g)


To find out which of the above equations is correct. I will use the mole theory to work out the expected volume of gas released. This predicted will volume will prove which of the two equations is correct.


00 cm³ gas syringe

2 retort stands


Delivery tube through bung

Test Tube


Bunsen Burner

Heat Proof Mat

Top pan Balance



Powered Copper Carbonate

Amounts and Errors

I will collect the amount of gas produced in a gas syringe, and aim to collect approximately 80cm³ . This volume is far enough from the 100cm³ to account for any errors that may cause the volume to increase beyond the scale, if too much gas is evolved. The gas syringes available have a maximum volume of 100cm³, hence why the chosen volume is lower than 100cm³.

There is also the possibility of the gas expanding in the heat, and resulting in the gas having a larger volume than the available volume in the gas syringe. To overcome this problem I will need to let the gas cool before measuring the volume, and may need to cool the gas as it enters the gas syringe.
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At room temperature and pressure, the volume of one mole of gas is 24dm³. From this I can find the number of moles of gas each equation will produce, and therefore how much copper carbonate to use. I will use the formula:

Volume(dm³) = Number of Moles x 24dm³

80cm³ = 0.08dm³

Number of moles = 0.08


= 0.00333 moles

To get a idea of which equation will give off most gas, equation 2 can be changed to have the same amount of copper carbonate as in equation 1, to start ...

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