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Iron Trichloride

 

Iron (III) chloride, also called ferric chloride, is an industrial scale commodity chemical compound, with the formula FeCl3. The color of iron (III) chloride crystals depends on the viewing angle: by reflected light the crystals appear dark green, but by transmitted light they appear purple-red. Anhydrous iron (III) chloride is deliquescent, forming hydrated hydrogen chloride mists in moist air.

 

When dissolved in water, iron (III) chloride undergoes hydrolysis and gives off heat in an exothermic reaction. The resulting brown, acidic, and corrosive solution is used as a flocculent in sewage treatment and drinking water production, and as an etchant for copper-based metals in printed circuit boards.

 

In industrial application, iron (III) chloride is used in sewage treatment and drinking water production. In this application, FeCl3 in slightly basic water reacts with the hydroxide ion to form a floc of iron(III) hydroxide, that can remove suspended materials.

 

In the laboratory iron (III) chloride is commonly employed as a Lewis acid for catalysing reactions such as chlorination of aromatic compounds and Friedel-Crafts reaction of aromatics. It is less powerful than aluminium chloride, but in some cases this mildness leads to higher yields, for example in the alkylation of benzene.