Chemical elements
  Aluminium
    Isotopes
    Energy
    Preparation
    Physical properties
    Chemical properties
      Aluminium subfluoride
      Aluminium trifluoride
      Aluminium trichloride
      Aluminium tribromide
      Aluminium iodide
      Aluminium chlorate
      Aluminium perchlorate
      Aluminium bromate
      Aluminium periodate
      Aluminium suboxide
      Alumina
      Aluminium sesqui-oxide
      Aluminium peroxide
      Aluminium hydroxides
      Aluminates
      Tricalcium aluminate
      Sodilim aluminate
      Aluminium sesqui-sulphide
      Aluminium selenide
      Aluminium telluride
      Aluminium sulphite
      Aluminium sulphate
      Alums
      Sodium alum
      Potassium alum
      Ammonium alum
      Hydroxylamine alum
      Silver alum
      Pseudo-alums
      Aluminium dithionate
      Aluminium selenite
      Aluminium selenate
      Aluminium chromate
      Aluminium molybdate
      Aluminium silicomolybdate
      Aluminium tungstate
      Aluminium silicotungstate
      Aluminium phosphotungstate
      Aluminium nitride
      Aluminium phosphide
      Aluminium arsenide
      Aluminium nitrate
      Aluminium Phosphates
      Basic aluminium arsenite
      Aluminium carbide
      Aluminium carbonate
      Aluminium thiocyanate
      Aluminium oxalate
      Aluminium alkyls
      Aluminium Hydrocarbon
      Aluminium acetylacetonate
      Aluminium silicide
      Aluminium silicates
      Leucite
      Nephelite
      Spodumene
      Topaz
      Beryl
      Tourmaline
      Axinite
      Sodalite
      Hauynite
      Kaolinite
      Aluminosilicic acids aluminosilicates
      Aluminium Borides
      Aluminium Boride
      Aluminium Boride
      Aluminium borocarbides
      Aluminium borate
      Aluminium sodium perborate
    Applications
    PDB 1a6e-1zca
    PDB 2b8w-3i62
    PDB 3kql-5ukd

Aluminium sulphate, Al2(SO4)3






Aluminium sulphate, Al2(SO4)3, is prepared in the anhydrous state by heating the crystalline, hydrated salt. The latter melts in its water of crystallisation, swells up, and eventually leaves a porous, white residue of anhydrous sulphate.

The anhydrous sulphate has a density of 2.713 at 17°, and its specific heat (0° to 100°) is 0.1855. At a red heat it decomposes, leaving a residue of alumina; decomposition becomes appreciable at 770°. It dissolves slowly in water.

A solution of aluminium sulphate is readily prepared by dissolving aluminium hydroxide in dilute sulphuric acid. The solution crystallises with difficulty, the hydrate Al2(SO4)3.18H2O being deposited in thin, six-sided, nacreous plates. This hydrate has also been obtained in the form of tetrahedra. At low temperatures the hydrate Al2(SO4)3.27H2O separates in trigonal crystals (a:c = 1:0.5408). Other hydrates, with 16H2O, 12H2O, 10H2O, 9H2O, 6H2O, 3H2O, and 2H2O have been described. The hydrates with 9H2O and 10H2O are said to be precipitated by alcohol, and to absorb water from a damp atmosphere, forming the hydrate with 18H2O. The hexahydrate results from the action of concentrated sulphuric acid on the hydrate with 18H2O; the trihydrate forms regular tetrahedra. The system aluminium sulphate - water has not yet been systematically investigated.

The hydrate Al2(SO4)3.18H2O is practically insoluble in alcohol. Its density is 1.69, and its specific heat (15° to 52°) is 0.353. As a white, fibrous efflorescence on shale and other rocks, this hydrate occurs as the mineral alunogen.

Aluminium sulphate is used in paper-making, as a mordant, and for the precipitation of sewage. The crude, very impure commercial preparations are manufactured by heating powdered, calcined china-clay or bauxite with sulphuric acid, the product being caused to solidify into blocks. When aluminium sulphate is required free from iron salts it is prepared from aluminium hydroxide, and sulphuric acid. It is impossible to separate ferric sulphate from aluminium sulphate by crystallisation, although the two sulphates form neither a compound nor mixed crystals; but commercial aluminium sulphate may be freed from iron by crystallisation if the iron sulphate present is reduced to the ferrous state by hydrogen sulphide, sulphuric acid, etc.

The acid sulphate Al2(SO4)3.H2SO4.3H2O has been prepared by Baud, and also by Wirth; while Silberberger has described an acid sulphate of the composition Al2(SO4)3.3H2SO4.7H2O. When aluminium sulphate is boiled with concentrated hydrochloric acid and the liquid cooled, crystals of aluminium chlorosulphate, AlClSO4.6H2O are deposited, which are decomposed by water.

About twenty different basic sulphates of aluminium have been described, but beyond the statement that the substance Al2O3.2SO3 and one or two hydrates of it are probably definite compounds, practically nothing can be said about them. A hydrated basic salt of the composition Al2O3.SO3.9H2O occurs naturally as the mineral websterite.


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