Copper oxide red

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Yellow, red or brown crystals depending on preparation method and particle size. Red copper oxide occurs in nature as the mineral cuprite (octahedral or cubic crystals). It is used as a red pigment in glass, artificial gems, enamels, and ceramics. The color can range from blood red to purple to brown in a reducing atmosphere and change to green in an oxidizing kiln. Red copper oxide is also used as a fungicide, insecticide, antiseptic for fish nets and as an antifouling agent.

Synonyms and Related Terms

cuprous oxide; cuprite; copper protoxide; copper hemioxide; copper suboxide; CI 77402; Perenex; Yellow Cuprocide; Copper-Sandoz; Caocobre



Chemical structure

Copper oxide red.jpg

Other Properties

Soluble in ammonium hydroxide. Reacts with hydrochloric, sulfuric and nitric acids to form copper salts. Insoluble in water.

Composition Cu2O
CAS 1317-39-1
Melting Point 1232-1235
Density 5.75-6.09
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 143.1
Refractive Index 2.705
Boiling Point 1800

Hazards and Safety

Toxic by ingestion and inhalation. Skin contact causes irritation.

LINK: International Chemical Safety Card

Additional Information

D.Scott, "Copper Compounds in Metals and Colorants: Oxides and Hydroxides" Studies in Conservation 42:93-100, 1997.


  • David Scott, David Scott, 'Copper Compounds in Metals and Colorants: Oxides and Hydroxides', Studies in Conservation, 42, 93-100, 1997
  • Richard S. Lewis, Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 2734
  • Michael McCann, Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Robert Fournier, Robert Fournier, Illustrated Dictionary of Practical Pottery, Chilton Book Company, Radnor, PA, 1992
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: ref. index = 2.705

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