The Physical and Chemical Properties of Copper Sulfide

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Copper sulfide is the main source of metallic copper [1]. It is extracted from sulfide ores such as bornite or chalcopyrite by pyrometallurgical routes and smelted to produce metal. In recent years, attention has been given to hydrometallurgical and bioleaching processing routes as a sustainable alternative for the extraction of metals from low-grade sulfide ores and copper-rich tailings.

Copper(II) dithiocarbamate complexes have been used as efficient single-source precursors for the synthesis of monodisperse copper (II) sulfide nanoparticles. These nanoparticles are capped with hexadecylamine (HDA) to passivate the sulfide surface and prevent the particles from clumping into larger particles. Their size-dependent physical and chemical properties have been characterized by UV-visible, photoluminescence, X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy.

The measured heat capacity of copper(I) sulfide is very close to that predicted by the first-order Boltzmann equation. However, the entropy increment is somewhat smaller than expected. This discrepancy could be explained by the different structural behavior of Cu(I) sulfide, which changes with temperature.

Copper(I) sulfide forms dark blue hexagonal crystals or black powder and was probably used as a pigment in antiquity (Orna et al, 1980). It can release toxic hydrogen sulfide gas when exposed to air. It is soluble in nitric acid and slightly soluble in ethanol or water. It turns black in air and can be used as a substitute for covellite as an antifouling paint and for textile dying with aniline black. It was also used in ancient bronze metallurgy to make objects resistant to corrosion by sulfuric acid.