Production of Benzoate Color Agents

K.L. and B.J Kosanke

The use of copper(II) benzoate as a blue color agent was discussed by Bleser.1 In large part, the endorsement for its use is based on its ability to serve as both color agent (copper) and fuel (benzoate). There is something to be said for this approach. For example, consider a color agent such as copper(II) carbonate (CuCO3); it is only the copper that is useful in producing color. (See Reference 2 for a more complete description of colored flame production.) What is more, energy is required to free copper from its carbonate ion. Consequently, the flame temperature is lowered, which in turn results in less colored light output. It would be preferred if the copper could be made available without having to pay the full energy cost of freeing it from the carbonate ion. One way to do this is to chemically combine copper with a fuel such as the benzoate ion. Then, when the fuel is consumed, copper will be left over and ready to make the blue color-generating molecule, copper monochloride (CuCl). Because copper benzoate is not commonly available, Bleser described one way to produce it. There is, however, another way to produce copper benzoate. This process is a little more complicated, but the same basic process can also be used to make many other interesting pyro-chemicals, only one class of which are benzoates.

Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 2, (1990-1992), pp 39-41

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