A blue crystalline solid, CuSO4.5H2O; triclinic; r.d. 2.284. The pentahydrate loses 4H2O at 110°C and the fifth H2O at 150°C to form the white anhydrous compound (rhombic; r.d. 3.6; decomposes above 200°C). The pentahydrate is prepared either by reacting copper(II) oxide or copper(II) carbonate with dilute sulphuric acid; the solution is heated to saturation and the blue pentahydrate crystallizes out on cooling (a few drops of dilute sulphuric acid are generally added to prevent hydrolysis). It is obtained on an industrial scale by forcing air through a hot mixture of copper and dilute sulphuric acid. In the pentahydrate each copper(II) ion is surrounded by four water molecules at the corner of a square, the fifth and sixth octahedral positions are occupied by oxygen atoms from the sulphate anions, and the fifth water molecule is held in place by hydrogen bonding. Copper(II) sulphate has many industrial uses, including the preparation of the Bordeaux mixture (a fungicide) and the preparation of other copper compounds. It is also used in electroplating and textile dying and as a timber preservative. The anhydrous form is used in the detection of traces of moisture.
Copper(II) sulphate pentahydrate is also known as blue vitriol.