Chloric acid

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Chloric acid is an unstable, strong, oxidizing acid that can exist in aqueous solutions up to 40%. It is one of the oxoacids of chlorine. Its formula is HClO3.

Properties

Physical

Chloric acid solutions are colorless liquids. Their density is similar to that of water. Concentrated chloric acid (over 30%) has a pungent smell, because of its disproportionation and release of chlorine and chlorine dioxide.

Chemical

Chloric acid is a strong oxidizer. Concentrated solutions can light organic materials on fire. It is also a strong acid. It reacts with bases to form chlorate salts.

When one tries to prepare an overconcentrated solution of this acid (over 40% under vacuum, over 30% by normal pressure boiling), it disproportionates to give a variety of products, which always include perchloric acid, and gases such as chlorine and chlorine dioxide are released. Because of this, chloric acid can serve as a precursor chemical to perchloric acid.

Preparation

The easiest way to prepare this acid is reacting barium chlorate with sulfuric acid. Concentrations should be stoichiometrically calculated to avoid accidentally preparing an overconcentrated solution that will decompose instantly.

Projects

  • Make perchloric acid
  • Make various exotic chlorates for your fireworks, i.e. strontium chlorate for red, calcium chlorate for orange, etc.)

Handling

Safety

Chloric acid is corrosive, similarly to nitric acid of the same concentrations. It is also known to react violently with oxidizable organic materials. The products of its decomposition are toxic gases.

Storage

Solutions up to 30% can be stored in bottles of amber glass, with ample headroom for gases evolving when the acid decomposes. 31-40% solutions are not advised to store.

Disposal

One should not dispose of chloric acid directly into the environment. A reducing agent such as sodium or potassium metabisulfite can be used to neutralize it.

References

Relevant Sciencemadness threads