Ferric chloride has several unique physical and chemical properties, so it has found wide application in a wide variety of industries.
Why is Ferric Chloride Needed?
Ferric chloride (FeCl₃, ferric chloride, ferric trichloride) is a salt of ferric iron and hydrochloric acid. It is a soft, reddish-brown, greenish or violet substance with a characteristic metallic sheen. Upon contact with air, ferric chloride takes on a yellow tint and becomes similar in colour and consistency to wet sand.
A series of properties that ferric chloride possesses due to its chemical composition makes it indispensable in industry. For example, ferric chloride is used in electronics to destroy printed circuit boards; in the food industry, it participates in the brewing and baking of bakery products; it is part of the reagents used for printing photos; in the textile industry, it participates in the production of fabrics; with the help of ferric chloride, water is purified on an industrial scale; Ferric chloride is a critical element in the chemical and metallurgical industry.
Also, ferric chloride is necessary for a person for the body’s normal functioning. It helps the body replenish iron deficiencies associated with blood loss or poor iron absorption. Since the lack of ferric chloride can negatively affect the body’s functioning, there are many drugs in pharmacology that contain FeCl₃.
There are several ways to obtain ferric trichloride. Iron chloride is thus formed by the interaction of monovalent iron with pure chlorine: 2Fe + 3Cl2 = FeCl₃.
Ferrous chloride can also be obtained by oxidizing ferrous chloride with chlorine: 2FeCl2 + Cl2 = 2FeCl₃.
Also, ferric chloride is obtained in the process of oxidation of ferric (II) chloride with sulfur dioxide. In this case, a more complex chemical reaction takes place: 4FeCl2 + SO2 + 4HCl = 4FeCl3 + S + 2H2O.
At home, you can conduct several exciting experiments where you can get ferric chloride.
You will need heavily rusted iron shavings (usual rust from an old pipe will do) and a 1:3 hydrochloric acid solution. The iron should be placed in a glass container and filled with hydrochloric acid. When the reagent acquires a characteristic yellow-brown hue, the liquid is drained from the container, and the resulting precipitate is filtered. Since the chemical reaction, in this case, is relatively slow, you should wait a few days.
Mix a 30% hydrogen peroxide solution, hydrochloric acid and water in a glass container in proportions 2: 2: 6. As a result of a chemical reaction, a ferric chloride solution is formed.
Ferric chloride can also be obtained by the reaction of hydrochloric acid and ferric oxide Fe2O3. To do this, hydrochloric acid is placed in a glass container. Iron oxide (lead red) is added gently in small portions.
It is important to remember that hydrochloric acid is highly toxic and causes severe burns if it comes in contact with the skin. In addition, chemical reactions release iron vapours, which can cause damage to the respiratory and visual organs. Rubber gloves, face shields and safety glasses will help prevent these harmful effects.