Reduction of copper(II) by iron(II)

C. J. Matocha, A. D. Karathanasis, S. Rakshit, K. M. Wagner

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56 Scopus citations


Laboratory and field investigations have clearly demonstrated the important role of reduced iron (Fe(II)) in reductive transformations of first-row transition metal species. However, interactions of Fe(II) and copper (Cu) are not clearly understood. This study examined the reduction of Cu(II) by Fe(II) in stirred-batch experiments at pH 5.2 and 5.5 as influenced by chloride (Cl -) concentration (0.002-0.1 M), initial metal concentration (0.1-9.1 mM), and reaction time (1-60 min) under anoxic conditions. Reduction of Cu(II) to Cu(I) by dissolved Fe(II) was rapid under all experimental conditions and the stability of the products explains the driving force for the redox reaction. Under conditions of low [Cl-] and high initial metal concentration, >40% of total Cu and Fe were removed from solution after 1 min, which accompanied formation of a brownish-red precipitate. X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns of the precipitates revealed the presence of cuprite (Cu2O), a Cu(I) mineral, based on d-spacings located at 0.248, 0.215, 0.151, and 0.129 nm. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy corroborated XRD data for the presence of Cu2O, with features located at 518, 625, and 698 cm -1. Increasing [Cl-] stabilized the dissolved Cu(I) product against Cu2O precipitation and resulted in more Fe precipitated from solution (relative to Cu) that appears to be present as poorly crystalline lepidocrocite (γ-FeOOH). This process may be important in anoxic soil environments, where dissolved Fe(II) levels can accumulate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1539-1546
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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