Study of copper sulfide crystallization in PEO-SDS solutions
Koutsoukos, Petros George
Kyriacou, Kyriacos C.
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The crystallization of copper sulfide in aqueous supersaturated solutions in the presence of the polymer poly(ethylene oxide), PEO, and the surfactant sodium dodecyl sulfate, SDS, was investigated. In these systems, copper sulfide precipitation competes with the reaction between copper cations and dodecyl sulfate anions. The competition of the two reactions may affect the reaction products significantlytherefore it is important to study the properties of the surfactant salt, copper dodecyl sulfate (Cu(DS)2), in detail. The thermodynamic solubility constant of Cu(DS)2 was measured at 8°C and was equal to (2.4 ± 0.4) × 10-10 M3. The Krafft point of Cu(DS)2 and its solubility curve (precipitation temperature for a range of concentrations) were also measured. The latter was found to be very close to room temperature. Temperature is thus a very significant parameter in these systems and must be carefully controlled in all experiments. The crystallization of copper sulfide in PEO-SDS solutions was investigated in solutions with compositions above and below the solubility curve. Copper sulfide nanoparticles predominate and are stabilized at temperatures above the solubility curve. Surprisingly, at temperatures below the solubility curve Cu2S coexists with Cu(DS)2, which appears in the form of lamellar crystals. The system is further complicated by the presence of at least two different types of copper sulfides corresponding to different oxidation states of copper. Our results suggest that the predominance of Cu(DS)2 at lower temperatures is due to its limited solubility and is modified by the CuICuII redox equilibrium in combination with the solution pH.