Copper sulfate, also known as cupric sulfate is a chemical compound having the formula CuSO4. It is the most popular and widely used copper salt. The anhydrous form of CuSO4 is pale green powder whereas the hydrated copper sulfate is bright blue in color. Copper sulfate is widely used in the agricultural industry primarily as fungicides. Apart from the agricultural industry, it is also used in chemical industry as a source of copper, as a catalyst and for purification of gases. Copper sulfate is used as an adhesive in the production of paints and glues. In the metal and electrical industry, copper sulfate is the most preferred electrolyte for applications such as refining, electro-plating, and also used in the development of batteries. In the leather and textile industry it is used as an important reagent/catalyst in tanning process. Copper sulfate is used as a raw material for preparation of anti fouling paints.
The agricultural industry accounts for more than half of the copper sulfate consumption globally. In the agro industry copper sulfate is primarily used as herbicide, fungicides and pesticides. Copper sulfate penta-hydrate is a fungicide. However it is mixed with lime to prepare Bordeaux and Burgundy mixtures which are more effective fungicides. Paris gas, manufactured from copper sulfate, is an insecticide. It is used as a raw material for the production of Chromated copper arsenate which is a widely used wood preservative.
It provides wood with insecticidal, fungicidal and UV light reflecting characteristics. Another important application of copper sulfate is as an analytical reagent, which is further used for the preparation of several reagents such as Fehling’s solution, Benedict’s solution and Biuret reagent. Demand for copper sulfate as an additive in animal feed is also increasing as the copper is very essential for proper body functioning. However, copper sulfate is moderately toxic when exposed for a longer period of time. As majority of the copper sulfate is produced from scrap copper, it contains toxins. Toxins such as Dioxin are no longer preferred by most of the consumer countries.
Increasing number of agricultural activities in the Asia-Pacific region has fueled the demand for agro chemicals such as herbicides and insecticides. Owing to this demand for copper sulfate in countries such as China and India has subsequently increased. . Demand for the chemical compound is also expected to rise in North America as the agricultural production in U.S. and Canada is also very high. The production of copper sulfate was significant in Europe until recently.
Most of the European countries are now importing copper sulfate in large quantities from the third world countries like Ukraine, Macedonia, Serbia, Uzbekistan, Russia and China. Most of the Europe’s surviving producers are based in Italy, Spain and France. Russia and most of the former Soviet Union countries are the nations dominating copper sulfate manufacture as majority of the copper mines are located in the Eurasian region. In other countries such as Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Columbia, demand for feed-grade copper sulfate is also increasing due to growth in the animal feed industry.
Copper sulfate is a very important chemical having a broad spectrum of applications. The demand of this chemical is predicted to increase subsequently over the fore-cast period. Some of the leading producers of copper sulfate are WEGO Chemical & Mineral Corp., Allan Chemical Corporation, NOAH Technologies Corporation, and ATOTECH.
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