Determine the formula of copper(II) oxide by reducing it using hydrogen or methane. Natural gas (mainly methane) can also be used as a reducing agent, but the reaction is much slower.
This practical is part of our Chemistry for non-specialists and Classic chemistry demonstrations collections.
In association with Nuffield Foundation
Students heat copper(II) oxide in a glass tube while passing methane over it. The copper(II) oxide is reduced to copper. If the reactants and products are weighed carefully the formula of the copper oxide can be deduced. This could also be used simply as an example of reduction.
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