Cu2+ (aq) reacts with ammonia to form the complex ion [Cu(NH)3)4]2+. Explain this reaction in terms of acid-base theory, and outline the bonding in the complex formed between Cu2+ and NH3

Ammonia acts as the Lewis base in this reaction by donating its lone pair of electrons, whilst Cu2+ (which is an electron deficient, electrophile) accepts the lone pair of electrons from the ammonia, making it a Lewis acid. The bond between Cu2+ and NH3 is a coordinate bond (also known as a dative bond), whereby the electrons in the bond are both donated by one species (in this case NH3). Thus NH3 is a ligand. Cu2+ is the electrophile (electron deficient) and NH3 is the nucleophile (electron rich). 

Sophie Z. IB Chemistry tutor, IB Economics tutor, IB Biology tutor, I...

4 months ago

Answered by Sophie, an IB Chemistry tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


£20 /hr

Karol B.

Degree: Biochemistry (Masters) - St. Andrews University

Subjects offered: Chemistry, Maths+ 2 more

-Personal Statements-

“I am a biochemistry student at the University of St Andrews. I have always had a great passion for tutoring in the sciences. One of my main career plans for the future is to become an international school teacher for IB Chemistry and ...”

£36 /hr

Michal D.

Degree: Chemistry (Masters) - Oxford, Jesus College University

Subjects offered: Chemistry, -Personal Statements-+ 1 more

-Personal Statements-
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“A 2nd year Chemistry student at University of Oxford looking to help you with any problems with the subject. Chemistry may seem difficult to you. This is probably because you don't know WHY something works the way it works. You don't ...”

£20 /hr

Matt E.

Degree: Molecular Biology (Doctorate) - Queen's, Belfast University

Subjects offered: Chemistry, Science+ 4 more

Human Biology
-Personal Statements-

“I am a first year PhD student at the School of Biological Sciences at Queen's University, Belfast, having graduated with a first class honours degree in Biology from QUB. My research focuses on the molecular mechanisms underpinning th...”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

Sophie Z.

Currently unavailable: for new students

Degree: Chemistry (Bachelors) - Edinburgh University

Subjects offered: Chemistry, Maths+ 3 more


“I am currently an (environmental) chemistry student at the University of Edinburgh, and I will be the first to admit I am a science geek. Now, if science is not your thing, I hope that by the end of one of my sessions you might start ...”

You may also like...

Other IB Chemistry questions

What is the difference between SN1 and SN2 reactions, and how do you determine via which mechanism the reaction will proceed?

Sort the following substances MgO, Na, H2O, H2S, NaCl, in the order of increasing melting temperature.

Is breaking bonds endothermic or exothermic?

What does the rate of chemical reactions depend on?

View IB Chemistry tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss