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Thread: Industrial Purification of Copper

  1. #1 Industrial Purification of Copper 
    Forum Freshman IAlexN's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I hope I posted this is the right section. (I'm new here)

    However, I'm studying for a chemistry test about Electrolysis and Batteries, but I'm really struggling with this question.

    In the industrial purification of copper, the electrolyte used is a compound of copper. Explain why this is so important for the process to work.

    I'd really appreciate any help I can get with this question.

    Thank you in advance,


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  3. #2  
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    The anode will be some compound of copper so that copper ions from it can replenish those removed from the solution at the cathode. The cathode is a compound of copper (well, almost pure copper actually) because the copper ions are reduced to atoms and become solid, pure (or almost) copper.

    Essentially, if the anode was not made of copper, you would quickly run out of copper in the solution and would end up purifying something which is certainly not copper. You only want copper ions in the solution, and no other cations, so that what you get out at the cathode is pure copper.

    The other substances in the anode include gold, platinum, silver etc. which are relatively inert and simply drop to the bottom to form a sort of dense sludge with carbonate and silicate impurities left in the copper from the ore stage, in case you were wondering :wink:


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  4. #3 Thanks 
    Forum Freshman IAlexN's Avatar
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    Thank you very much! :-D

    Here is a cookie for you *giving a cookie* :P

    EDIT: It wasn't really the answer I was looking for, but I found the information I needed.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Close Drowsey, but not accurate. Here is the real story.
    http://www.chemguide.co.uk/inorganic...on/copper.html
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