Purification of Copper

Edited by Jamie (ScienceAid Editor), Taylor (ScienceAid Editor)

Why Recycle Copper?

The purification of copper is a form of recycling, it is a way of obtaining new, pure copper from old pipes, wires, circuits, and so on. It uses electrolysis.


A rod of pure copper is used as a cathode and the impure copper is an anode. The electrolyte (solution the ions travel through) is a solution of copper (II) sulphate (CUSO4).

During electrolysis, copper (II) ions leave the impure copper anode and since they are positive, they are attracted to the negative cathode. Here they pick up the two electrons that are needed to form a copper metal, and this builds up pure copper. Impurities from the anode collect at the bottom of the solution.

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Article Info

Categories : Applied

Recent edits by: Jamie (ScienceAid Editor)

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