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Ferrous selenate, FeSeO4

Iron dissolves in aqueous selenic acid, yielding ferrous selenate and a deposit of selenium, which collects upon the surface of the undissolved metal and shields it from further attack. The rate of solution is thereby so greatly retarded that as a method of preparing ferrous selenate it is not to be recommended. The net result of the action may be represented by the equation: -

3Fe + 4H2SeO4 = 3FeSeO4 + Se + 4H2O.

Ferrous carbonate is likewise but slowly attacked by selenic acid; a better method of preparing ferrous selenate consists in dissolving ferrous sulphide in a concentrated solution of the acid. The hydrogen sulphide evolved reduces a portion of the selenic acid in accordance with the equation: -

H2SeO4 + 3H2S = Se + 3S + 4H2O.

The solution is therefore filtered and when allowed to crystallise at 0°C. yields monoclinic crystals of the heptahydrate, FeSeO4.7H2O, isomorphous with ferrous sulphate, FeSO4.7H2O. The crystals are much less stable, however, rapidly becoming opaque. When crystallised from warm solutions the pentahydrate, FeSeO4.5H2O, is obtained, isomorphous with copper sulphate, CuSO4.5H2O, and ferrous sulphate, FeSO4.5H2O.

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