Important Properties and Uses of Oxalic Acid
Important Properties and Uses of Oxalic Acid

Oxalic acid is an organic chemical compound whose chemical formula is C2H2O4. Under standard conditions for temperature and pressure (STP), oxalic acid exists as a white. Crystalline solid. When dissolved in water, this compound is known to form a colourless solution. Oxalic acid is believed to be the simplest dicarboxylic acid since it is made up of two carboxyl groups. The condensed formula of this organic compound can be written as HOOC-COOH. Some important properties and uses of oxalic acid are provided in this article.

General Characteristics of Oxalic Acid

When comparing the acidic strengths of oxalic acid and acetic acid, it can be observed that the former is far more acidic than the latter. It can be noted that oxalic acid acts as a reducing agent and can, therefore, be classified as a reductant. The conjugate base of oxalic acid is the oxalate anion. The chemical formula of this ion can be written as C2O42-. The oxalate anion is formed when an oxalic acid molecule is deprotonated twice (each of the carboxyl groups is deprotonated once, resulting in two COO anions that are linked via the carbon atoms). The conjugate base of oxalic acid (oxalate) is widely used as a chelating agent for metal cations. Generally, oxalic acid can be found in the form of its dihydrate, which can be represented by the chemical formula C2H2O4.2H2O. It can also be noted that oxalic acid can be found naturally in many food items, especially the flowering plants that belong to the genus Oxalis.

Physical Properties of Oxalic Acid

  • The molar mass of anhydrous oxalic acid is equal to 90.034 grams per mole. The molar mass of the dihydrate of this organic compound corresponds to 126.065 grams per mole.
  • Under standard conditions, oxalic acid exists as a white solid that is crystalline in nature. It does not have any characteristic odour in this state.
  • The density of anhydrous oxalic acid is equal to 1.90 grams per cubic centimetre. The dihydrate of oxalic acid has a density of 1.653 grams per cubic centimetre.
  • Oxalic acid is fairly soluble in water. The solubility of this organic compound in water ranges from 90 to 100 grams per litre at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius.
  • This organic compound is also soluble in ethanol and diethyl ether.

Uses of Oxalic Acid

One of the most important applications of oxalic acid is as a mordant in dyeing activities.This organic chemical compound is also used in baking powder and bleaches.Oxalic acid is used as a reagent in instruments for silica analysis.

Another vital application of oxalic acid is in the metallurgy of lanthanides. In fact, oxalic acid is considered by many to be one of the most important reagents in lanthanide chemistry.Oxalic acid can be employed to clean certain minerals as well.

To learn more about oxalic acid and other important concepts related to acids and bases, download BYJU’S – The Learning App.

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