Question

You must have seen tarnished copper vessels being cleaned with lemon or tamarind juice. Explain why these sour substances are effective in cleaning the vessels.

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Solution
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Copper reacts with moist carbon dioxide in air to form copper carbonate and as a result, copper vessel loses its shiny brown surface forming a green layer of copper carbonate. The citric acid present in the lemon or tamarind neutralises the basis copper carbonate and dissolves the layer. That is why, tarnished copper vessels are cleaned with lemon or tamarind juice to give the surface of the copper vessel its characteristic lustre.

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