Oxalic acid - C2H2O4

What is Oxalic acid?

Oxalic acid is a dicarboxylic acid with a chemical formula C2H2O4. It is also known as Ethanedioic acid or Oxiric acid. This organic compound is found in many vegetables and plants. It is the simplest dicarboxylic acid with condensed formula HOOCCOOH and has an acidic strength greater than acetic acid. Excess consumption of oxalic acid can be dangerous. It is produced by the oxidation of carbohydrates. It can also be prepared in the laboratory by the oxidation of sucrose in the presence of nitric acid and a catalyst like vanadium pentoxide. It has a structure with two polymorphs and it appears as a white crystalline solid which becomes a colourless solution when dissolved in water. It is a reducing agent and is used as a chelating agent with oxalate as its conjugate base.

Properties of Oxalic acid – C2H2O4

C2H2O4 Oxalic acid
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 90.03 g/mol
Density 1.90 g cm−3
Appears White crystals
Melting Point 189 to 191 °C

Oxalic acid structure – C2H2O4

Oxalic acid structure

C2H2O4 Uses (Oxalic acid)

  • It is used in the dyeing process as a mordant
  • It is used in removing rust
  • In lanthanide chemistry, it is used as an important reagent
  • It is applied on marble sculptures to make it shine
  • It is used in the manufacture of dye
  • It is used in bleaches
  • It is used in removing food and ink stains
  • It is used in developing photographic film
  • It is used in wastewater treatment to remove the calcium deposit

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Learn more about the properties, production and the structure of C2H2O4 from the expert faculties at BYJU’S.

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