Making Ferric Oxalate from Scratch

Niranjan Patel

A question for the chemistry aficionados out there:


I happen to have some ferrous lactate and I wondered if I can put it to use to make some ferric oxalate in solution via the route of ferrous salt to ferrous oxlate with oxalic acid -----> ferric oxalate with hydrogen peroxide and oxalic acid. (I know it can be had for relatively cheaply and easily from a number of suppliers both in liquid and solid forms. This is just to play around a little for my own academic curiosity – since I have other ingredients at hand so I thought why not.)


So the question is this: In all references I have seen, they start with ferrous ammonium sulfate to make ferrous oxalate. This includes not only the ones that use ferrous oxalate as a precursor for ferric oxalate in the alternative process world (Eric Neilsen's recipe, for example)  but also many college chemistry lab lessons to make potassium ferrioxalate crystals which seems to be a popular thing to do. I wonder why that is. Why not plain ferrous sulfate which is easily obtained even at the hardware store. Or ferrous lactate which is commonly used in the textile mordant chemistry. Does the ammonium salt provide any specific benefit in the synthesis?


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