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Copper Oxide Red

Alternate Names: Cu2O, Red Copper, RCO, Copper (I) Oxide, Cuprous Oxide

Oxide Analysis Formula
Cu2O 100.00% 1.00
Oxide Weight 143.00
Formula Weight 143.00


Red copper is a reduced form of the normal black copper oxide (CuO). In normal oxidizing firings it will transform to the cupric oxide form (CuO) to produce the normal green coloration in glazes and glass. If fired in reduction, it will maintain its Cu2O structure to produce the typical copper red color. See CuO, Cu2O oxides for more information.

A conversion factor for red and black copper oxide: It might seem that it would simply be a division of the weights, Cu2O/CuO, 143 / 79.54 = 1.798. But not so, the conversion factor is actually 1.12 black copper for red. CuO (black copper) has a weight of 79.5 (1 copper weighing 63.5 + 1 oxygen weighing 16). Cu2O weighs 143, it has two atoms of copper (double what CuO has), thus it sources 127 Cu (copper) from that 143 total. 143 weight units of CuO would source only 113.7 Cu (63.5*143/79.5=113.7). So the conversion factor is 127/113, or 1.12.

Note: Red copper oxide is usually surface coated to prevent oxidation. For this reason, it may be very difficult to get the material to mix with a glaze slurry. If so you must soak the material in alchohol to wash the surface. Or use soapy water and then rinse with clean water (so there is no soap in the glaze slurry).

See also: "Coloring Mechanism of Peach Bloom Copper Red Glazes" written by four technicians from China published in Dec 91 Bulletin of the American Ceramic Society.

Related Information


Articles Leaching Cone 6 Glaze Case Study
An example of how we can use INSIGHT software to determine of a glaze is likely to leach
Materials Copper Carbonate
A source of CuO copper oxide used in ceramic glazes to produce a variety of colors (used only or with other colorants).
Materials Copper Oxide Black
The purest source of CuO copper oxide pigment used in ceramic glazes.
Materials Copper Carbonate Basic
This form of copper carbonate is the article of commerce, a mixture of theoretical copper carbonate and copper hydroxide.
Hazards Copper Oxide and Carbonate
Hazards Copper Compounds Toxicology
Temperatures Copper oxide melts (1325-)
Typecodes Generic Material
Generic materials are those with no brand name. Normally they are theoretical, the chemistry portrays what a specimen would be if it had no contamination. Generic materials are helpful in educational situations where students need to study material theory (later they graduate to dealing with real world materials). They are also helpful where the chemistry of an actual material is not known. Often the accuracy of calculations is sufficient using generic materials.
Typecodes Colorant
Metallic based materials that impart fired color to glazes and bodies.
Oxides CuO - Cupric Oxide
Oxides Cu2O - Cuprous Oxide
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