Oxidized Lady Liberty “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.” (Wonderpolis). These exact words by poet Emma Lazarus can be found on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. The Statue of Liberty, also known as Lady Liberty, is the iconic symbol for our freedom in America; People from all around the world come to this beautiful land with hopes to live their American dreams. However, there’s more to that than meets the eye. The Statue of Liberty isn’t just a historical figure. The statue is 151 feet of empirical evidence for chemistry (LLC). Lady Liberty’s physical aspects have a chemical feature that is mesmerizing.…show more content… These compounds are created when the copper (II) oxide is continuously exposed to carbon dioxide (CO2)and sulfur trioxide (SO3) elements in the air along with hydroxide ions (OH-)in water (H2O) over decades. To put it another way, the provided chemical equations below shows what elements reacted with copper (II) oxides to create the three compounds as they were further oxidized:
Equation 1: 2CuO + CO2 + H2O → Cu2CO3(OH)2
Equation 2: 3CuO + 2CO2 + H2O → Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2
Equation 3: 4CuO + SO3+3H2O → Cu4SO4(OH)6
Each of these blue and green compounds combined creates the blue-green colored patina that coats the 151 feet tall Lady Liberty (LLC). To depict this, below is an image by Tom Faulkner that shows the statue before and after oxidation.
Considering this, patina is extremely beneficial to Lady Liberty. In the past, there was the misconception that the statue’s color change meant that it was decaying. However, chemistry has shown otherwise. Chemistry showed that the patina actually acts as a natural layer of protection and prevents the copper underneath from corroding/decomposing. Patina is also the “...closest to equilibrium with the prevailing environmental conditions and thus produces the lowest dissolution rates.” (Livingston). For this