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dan19_83

Filter paper and Sulphuric Acid

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Last week I was filtering a high concentration solution of H2SO4 solution with some standard filter paper. Once this was done, I placed it in a oven at around 110 degrees C to dry. When I took it out after about twenty minutes, I noticed that the filter paper had changed to a black colour and that it had degraded and of course I had lost my damn results! :mad:

 

Does anybody know what is happening here? I've also try this with Nitric acid and HCl and my results have worked out ok.

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Sulfuric acid readilly absorbs water from organic material even at room temperature.

the absorbation is exothermic, as observed when mixing the acid with water.

 

At elevated temperatuers, the organic matter is simply destroyed by the acid.

Sugar is chemically decomposed when the acid absorbs water, and the residue is mainly carbon (coal). The same applies to paper (cellulose), and also in this case the residue is coal.

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Yup. Concentrated H2SO4 will readily dehydrate a carbohydrate, and as collector has pointed out, paper is many cellulose which is technically a carbohydrate. The reaction of sucrose and concentrated sulfuric acid is a classic introductory chemistry demonstration. :D

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in future, use Rock Wool to filter sulphuric acid with, it`s not reactive and can`t cause a fire :)

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that`s never once happened to me, even in the days when I knew very little!

 

granted it CAN happen, but it`s not likely under ordinary circs :)

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can't say it's ever happened to me either.

 

so what does H2S smell like?! any side effects?

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H2S smells like rotting eggs and the side effects of inhalation are a numbness of your scent receptors followed by death. It's a poisonous gas just as hydrogen cyanide is. Thankfully, the human nose can detect hydrogen sulfide faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar before it gets to toxic/lethal levels. The only problem is that it does numb your ability to smell so after a short while you can't smell it any more. (As a kind of gross side note, a bit of hydrogen sulfide is sometimes contained in human flatulence. As a result, when you pass gas you can usually smell it quite strongly right away, but after a while you can't notice it anymore. If a different person comes into the area, however, they'll probably smell it quite a bit. This just shows how sensitive our noses are to H2S since it's a pretty toxic gas but we can sense it before it even comes close to being bad).

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