MadSci Network: Chemistry

Subject: What happens when I dip nails in a sulfuric acid solution?

Date: Wed Nov 4 18:00:54 2009
Posted by bobby
Grade level: grad (non-science) School: No school entered.
City: bresse State/Province: CFR Country: Europe
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 1257382854.Ch

I realized that by putting simple nails in sulfuric acid (a pH down for
aquariums, ~0.55 mol/L), I'd wind up with iron sulfate.

According to Dr Raymond B. Wailes, I was supposed to get a green-ish, fizzy
solution (from dihydrogen H2 and possibly acetylene C2H2).
I did get the fizzy solution, but never the green-ish color: as soon as I dipped
the nails, the solution went purple-rose.
After a day or so, the solution is back to transparent; dissolution of nails is
still ongoing (still seeing lots of tiny bubbles).

What can possibly be in solution, according to color I got?
Are vanadium, chromium, zinc or other elements present in the nails reacting
with sulfates instead of the iron?
Did search for a purple-ish sulfate-compound (eg sulfate chromium), no success.

Should I have used old rusty nails instead?

Hopefully, you can help! 
Thank you for your time, have a good day.

Re: What happens when I dip nails in a sulfuric acid solution?

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