Ferric Chloride is an inorganic chemical compound with the formula FeCl3. it is a dark brown powder, it also crystalline. It can be easily soluble in water and highly hygroscopic. Crystal forms occur naturally as the mineral moly site. This compound is applied in sewage and industrial waste treatment processes, and also is used in the manufacture of dyes, pigments, and inks; as a chlorinating agent; and as a catalyst in chlorination reactions of aromatics.
this material is normally mixed with water in equal parts to form hydrochloric acid in solution. It’s more commonly used to etch copper, but it also works well to etch stainless steel. For ferric, the pH range is between 7.0 and 8.5.
chemical and physical properties of Ferric Chloride
Preparation of Ferric chloride
It also is known as Iron (lll) chloride, forms passing chlorine gas over iron filings at 350°C:
2Fe + 3Cl2→ 2FeCl3
It also can be made by heating iron (III) oxide with HCl at elevated temperatures:
Fe2O3 + 6HCl → 2FeCl3 + 3H2O
The product may be sublimed in a stream of chlorine to give a high purity grade of this product. This compound can be anhydrous or hexahydrate.
By dehydrating the hexahydrate, FeCl3•6H2O, with thionyl chloride, ferric chloride anhydrous can be easily made:
FeCl3•6H2O + 6SOCl2 → FeCl3 + 12HCl + SO2
Ferric chloride applications
- It is used in sewage treatment and drinking water production. In industrial usage, FeCl3 slightly reacts in basic water with the hydroxide ion to form a floc of ferric hydroxide. It is also used as a bleaching agent in chloride hydrometallurgy.
- It is easily etching metals such as copper.
- It acts as a catalyst for the reaction of ethylene with chlorine
- It used as a Lewis acid for catalyzing reactions
- The ferric chloride test is a traditional colorimetric test for phenols; this test can be used to detect the presence of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid and gamma-butyrolactone
- Also used in veterinary practice to treat overcropping of an animal’s claws, particularly when the overcropping results in bleeding.