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aluminum salt (3:2)
|Jmol interactive 3D||Image|
|Molar mass||342.15 g/mol (anhydrous)
666.42 g/mol (octadecahydrate)
|Appearance||white crystalline solid
|Density||2.672 g/cm3 (anhydrous)
1.62 g/cm3 (octadecahydrate)
|Melting point||770 °C (1,420 °F; 1,040 K) (decomposes, anhydrous)
86.5 °C (octadecahydrate)
|31.2 g/100 mL (0 °C)
36.4 g/100 mL (20 °C)
89.0 g/100 mL (100 °C)
|Solubility||slightly soluble in alcohol, dilute mineral acids|
Refractive index (nD)
Std enthalpy of
|Safety data sheet||See: data page|
|US health exposure limits (NIOSH):|
IDLH (Immediate danger
|Supplementary data page|
|Refractive index (n),
Dielectric constant (εr), etc.
|UV, IR, NMR, MS|
|what is ?)(|
Aluminium sulfate is a chemical compound with the formula Al2(SO4)3. It is soluble in water and is mainly used as a flocculating agent in the purification of drinking water and waste water treatment plants, and also in paper manufacturing.
Aluminium sulfate is sometimes referred to as a type of alum. Alums are double sulfate salts, with the formula AM(SO
2O, where A is a monovalent cation such as potassium or ammonium and M is a trivalent metal ion such as aluminium. The anhydrous form occurs naturally as a rare mineral millosevichite, found e.g. in volcanic environments and on burning coal-mining waste dumps. Aluminium sulfate is rarely, if ever, encountered as the anhydrous salt. It forms a number of different hydrates, of which the hexadecahydrate Al2(SO4)3•16H2O and octadecahydrate Al2(SO4)3•18H2O are the most common. The heptadecahydrate, whose formula can be written as [Al(H2O)6]2(SO4)3•5H2O, occurs naturally as the mineral alunogen.
- 2 Al(OH)3 + 3 H2SO4 → Al2(SO4)3+6H2O
or by heating aluminum metal in a sulfuric acid solution:
- 2 Al(s) + 3 H2SO4 → Al2(SO4)3 + 3 H2 (g)
Aluminium sulfate is used in water purification and as a mordant in dyeing and printing textiles. In water purification, it causes impurities to coagulate into larger particles and then settle to the bottom of the container (or be filtered out) more easily. This process is called coagulation or flocculation. Research suggests that in Australia, aluminium sulfate used this way in drinking water treatment is the primary source of hydrogen sulfide gas in sanitary sewer systems. Improper and excess application polluted the water supply of Camelford in Cornwall.
When dissolved in a large amount of neutral or slightly alkaline water, aluminium sulfate produces a gelatinous precipitate of aluminium hydroxide, Al(OH)3. In dyeing and printing cloth, the gelatinous precipitate helps the dye adhere to the clothing fibers by rendering the pigment insoluble.
Aluminium sulfate is sometimes used to reduce the pH of garden soil, as it hydrolyzes to form the aluminium hydroxide precipitate and a dilute sulfuric acid solution. An example of what changing the pH level of soil can do to plants is visible when looking at Hydrangea macrophylla. The gardener can add aluminium sulfate to the soil to reduce the pH which in turn will result in the flowers of the Hydrangea turning a different color (blue). The aluminium is what makes the flowers blue; at a higher pH, the aluminium is not available to the plant. Thus, both the aluminium and sulfur keep the plants blue.
Aluminium potassium sulfate and another form of alum, aluminium ammonium sulfate, are the active ingredients in some antiperspirants; however, beginning in 2005 the US Food and Drug Administration no longer recognized it as a wetness reducer. Despite this, several countries, primarily in Asia, still use the widely available and cheap alum sulfate as a very effective cure for a medical condition known as Hyperhydrosis and repels excessively strong body odor better than any other antiperspirant and deodorant in the international market.
Aluminium potassium sulfate is usually found in baking powder.
- Al2(SO4)3 + 6 NaHCO3 → 3 Na2SO4 + 2 Al(OH)3 + 6 CO2
The carbon dioxide is trapped by the foam stabilizer and creates a thick foam which will float on top of hydrocarbon fuels and seal off access to atmospheric oxygen, smothering the fire. Chemical foam was unsuitable for use on polar solvents such as alcohol, as the fuel would mix with and break down the foam blanket. The carbon dioxide generated also served to propel the foam out of the container, be it a portable fire extinguisher or fixed installation using hoselines. Chemical foam is considered obsolete in the United States and has been replaced by synthetic mechanical foams, such as AFFF which have a longer shelf life, are more effective, and more versatile, although some countries such as Japan and India continue to use it.
- Pradyot Patnaik. Handbook of Inorganic Chemicals. McGraw-Hill, 2002, ISBN 0-07-049439-8
- "NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards #0024". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
- Global Health and Education Foundation (2007). "Conventional Coagulation-Flocculation-Sedimentation". Safe Drinking Water is Essential. National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- Kvech S, Edwards M (2002). "Solubility controls on aluminum in drinking water at relatively low and high pH". Water Research 36 (17): 4356–4368. doi:10.1016/S0043-1354(02)00137-9. PMID 12420940.
- Austin, George T. (1984). Shreve's Chemical process industries. (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 357. ISBN 9780070571471.
- Ilje Pikaar, Keshab R. Sharma, Shihu Hu, Wolfgang Gernjak, Jürg Keller, Zhiguo Yuan. "Reducing sewer corrosion through integrated urban water management". Retrieved 2014-08-25.
- International Chemical Safety Card 1191
- NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards
- WHO Food Additive Series No. 12
- Aluminum and health
- Government of Canada Fact Sheets and Frequently Asked Questions: Aluminum Salts
|Salts and the ester of the sulfate ion|