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Potassium aquo ferricyanide, K2Fe(CN)5

Potassium aquo ferricyanide, K2Fe(CN)5.H2O, is obtained by the prolonged action of chlorine upon potassium ferrocyanide solution. At first potassium ferricyanide is formed, which undergoes further decomposition, the chlorine abstracting one (CN) group, water taking its place. Thus: -

2K4Fe(CN)6 + Cl2 = 2K3Fe(CN)6 + 2KCl,

followed by

K3Fe(CN)6 + Cl2 = K3Fe(CN)5Cl + CN.Cl.K3Fe(CN)5Cl + H2O = K2Fe(CN)5.H2O + KCl.

The same salt is produced by the action of a mixed solution of sodium chlorate and hydrochloric acid upon potassium ferrocyanide.

The solution is intensely violet, but the salt is readily precipitated by addition of alcohol. Reduction with alkaline hydroxylamine chloride solution yields potassium aquo penta-ferrocyanide, K3Fe(CN)5.H2O, whilst with alkaline potassium sulphite the sulphito penta-ferrocyanide, K5Fe(CN)5.SO3, is obtained.

In earlier literature this salt is referred to as potassium perferri-cyanide, the formula, K2Fe(CN)6, being ascribed to it.

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