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Student Handout

Spectrophotometric Determination of Cu2+


The Problem
Branicoda Copper Mine is considering opening up a new mining site. The geologists feel that there are copper-rich ore bodies present at this new site. Samples of these ores were sent to Water Wagon Laboratories to be tested. The ore samples were recently leached with sulfuric acid to bring Cu2+ (copper(II) ion) into solution. Water Wagon Laboratories has been given the challenge of determining the amount of copper present in these solutions.

Your Task
As a chemical technician at Water Wagon Laboratories, you are responsible for taking the Cu2+(aq) (aqueous copper(II) solution) and determining the amount of copper present in the solution. To accomplish this task, you must measure the absorbance spectrophotometer. of several standard copper solutions using a

prepare a linear graph from this data. measure the absorbance of the ore sample solutions. use the graph to determine the concentration of copper in the ore sample solutions.

Materials
Per lab team Spectrophotometer (Spec-20 or Genesys-20) Cuvettes (6 or more) A set of Cu2+ (aqueous copper(II) sulfate solution) standards (5.00 g/L, 4.00 g/L, 3.00 g/L, 2.00 g/L, 1.00 g/L) 1 box lintless paper wipes

Safety and Disposal


As instructed by your teacher, follow appropriate safety procedures, including the use of personal protective equipment such as goggles and an apron. Copper(II) sulfate pentahydrate is a strong irritant to the skin and mucous membranes. To avoid inhaling its dust, use copper(II) sulfate only where there is adequate ventilation. It can be harmful or fatal if taken internally. If contact with the skin occurs, flush with

running water. Wash your hands after use. Follow local ordinances for disposal of copper(II) salts. It is recommended that unused copper(II) sulfate solution be left to evaporate to dryness. Follow any additional disposal procedures as outlined by your instructor.

Using a Spectrophotometer
A spectrophotometer is used to make absorbance measurements. Light passes into a monochromator (where only the desired wavelength, or a very narrow range of wavelengths, can pass through). The light then passes through the sample, and on to a phototube, where the light energy is converted to an electrical current that is registered on a meter.

Absorbance as a function of concentration


Notes: There are two types of cuvettes. One type is rectangular and has two smooth sides and two rough sides. When inserting the rectangular cuvettes into the spectrophotometer, make sure that the smooth sides are placed front to back so that the beam shines through the smooth section. The other type of cuvette looks like a regular test tube, but they are not. The tubes have been carefully and precisely made to have a composition that is transparent to light of the visible range and a shape that is a constant 1 cm diameter, perfectly round. Cuvettes must be handled with care, being sure to touch them only near the top, and to wipe off the outside with a piece of lintless paper wipes each time before putting it into the instrument. Cuvettes should be stored in wooden/ plastic test tube racks when not in use to prevent scratching.

Procedure
1. 2. 3. Use a disposable pipette to fill a cuvette approximately full of water. Wipe off the cuvette with a lintless paper wipe. Place the cuvette containing water into the sample

compartment and align the lines. This is the reference solution (often called the blank). 4. Close the cover and set the absorbance to 0 by moving the lower right hand dial. 5. 6. Remove the cuvette of water. Fill a cuvette approximately full of one of the standard solutions. It would be

appropriate to begin with the 5.00 g/L Cu2+, copper(II) solution. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Wipe off the cuvette with a lintless paper wipe. Place the cuvette in the sample compartment and align the lines. Close the cover and record the absorbance in the data table below. Remove the cuvette. Repeat steps 6-10 to measure the absorbance of the other standard solutions (4.00 g/L, 3.00 g/L, 2.00 g/L, and 1.00 g/L). 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. Fill a cuvette approximately full of Chrysocolla solution. Wipe off the cuvette with a lintless paper wipe. Place the cuvette in the sample compartment and align the lines. Close the cover and record the absorbance. Remove the cuvette. Fill a cuvette approximately full of Malachite solution. Wipe off the cuvette with a lintless paper wipe. Place the cuvette in the sample compartment and align the lines. Close the cover and record the absorbance. Remove the cuvette.

Data Table

Concentration Solution (g/L) A B C D E Chrysocolla Sample Malachite Sample 5.00 4.00 3.00 2.00 1.00 Absorbance

Data Manipulation and Analysis


1. Prepare a properly labeled graph with absorbance (y-axis) as a function of concentration (x-axis). 2. Use a ruler or straight edge to draw the best straight line through the data points. 3. Use your graph and the absorbance values of your copper ore solutions to determine the concentration of your copper sample. Find the absorbance of your chrysocolla solution on the graph. 4. Use a ruler to draw a horizontal line from the absorbance value on the y-axis over to the straight line connecting your data points. Use a ruler to draw a vertical line down to the x-axis. Where this vertical line connects with the x-axis is the value of the concentration of your sample. Record this value in your data table under concentration of chrysocolla. 5. Follow the same procedure to determine the concentration of the malachite solution.

Discussion and Conclusions


For a copper mine to make money, the concentration of the ore sample must be greater than 0.500 g/L? Q1: Which ore sample had the highest concentration of copper? _________________________________________________________________________ Q2: Based on your data, do you feel that Branicoda Copper Mine should consider opening up this new mining site. _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

Graph of Absorbance vs. Concentration


Copper Ore Solutions Water Wagon Laboratories
1.0

0.8

0.6

Absorbance

0.4

0.2

1.0

2.0

3.0

4.0

5.0

Concentration (g/L)