What is Formic Acid?
Formic acid is a colorless, fuming liquid with a pungent acrid odor with the chemical formula HCOOH. It is systematically named as methanoic acid. The common names for simple carboxylic acids come from the Latin or Greek names of their source. Formic acid, although not widely used as a solvent, is of interest as an example of a protic solvent with high acidity. Formic acid and its salts are corrosive and skin sensitisers. Sodium formate is mildly irritating to the eyes.
Other names – Methanoic acid, Formylic acid, Aminic acid
|Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass||46.03 g/mol|
|Boiling Point||100.8 °C|
|Melting Point||8.4 °C|
Formic Acid Structure – HCOOH
Physical Properties of Formic Acid – HCOOH
|Odour||Pungent, penetrating odor|
|Hydrogen Bond Acceptor||2|
|Solubility||Miscible with water|
Chemical Properties of Formic Acid – HCOOH
- Formic acid reduce mercuric chloride into mercurous chloride forming a white precipitate. The chemical equation is given below.
HCOOH + 2HgCl2 → Hg2Cl2 + 2HCl + CO2
- Formic acid reacts with phosphoric pentachloride forms formyl chloride, phosphoryl chloride and hydrogen chloride.
HCOOH + PCl5 → HCOCl + POCl3 + HCl
Uses of Formic Acid – HCOOH
- Used as a mixture with citric acid or HCl because alone it is unable to remove iron oxide deposits.
- Used in major industrial chemicals in the group of saturated monocarboxylic acids.
- Used as a reducing agent to reduce sodium and potassium dichromate.
- Useful material in the dyeing and tanning industries, but other competing acids have, as a rule, been cheaper and the use of formic acid has therefore been restricted to a few cases for which it has peculiar advantages