Augustus Invented Chloroform Regulator | Coal Gas Purification |

Augustus Vernon Harcourt – inventor of chloroform regulator

Article on Augustus

Biography & Contributions

Augustus Vernon Harcourt was an English chemist born on December 24, 1834 – died on August 23, 1919. Harcourt was the first person to do quantitative work in the field of chemical kinetics.

His other important scientific activities include inventing a device to safely administer chloroform, and the analysis and purification of coal gas, used for illumination. Harcourt also invented pentane-burning lamps that served as photometric standards.

Harcourt and William Esson investigated was the acid-catalyzed iodine clock reaction (iodide and hydrogen peroxide) and also studied the reaction between oxalic acid and potassium permanganate.

Iodine Clock Reaction

The iodine clock reaction is a classical chemical clock demonstration experiment to display chemical kinetics in action or this can be explained in simple terms like it is a common chemistry experiment in which two clear liquids are mixed together to produce a dark, opaque color.

This reaction starts from a solution of hydrogen peroxide with sulfuric acid. To the previous mixture potassium iodide, sodium thiosulfate, and starch containing solution need to be added. Thereby two types of reactions will occur in the solution.

In the first step, by slow reaction, iodine is produced:

H2O2 + 2I- + 2H+ → I2 + 2H2O

In the second step, which is fast reaction, iodine is rapidly converting to 2 iodide ions by the thiosulfate:

2S2O32- + I2 → S4O62- + 2I-

After some time the solution changes color to a very dark blue, almost black.

When the solutions are mixed, the second reaction causes the triiodide ion to be consumed much faster than it is generated, and only a small amount of triiodide is present in the dynamic equilibrium. Once the thiosulfate ion has been exhausted, this reaction stops and the blue colour will resulted by triiodide - starch complex.

Chemical Kinetics

Chemical kinetics, also known as reaction kinetics, is the study of rates of chemical processes. Chemical kinetics includes investigations of how different experimental conditions can influence the speed of a chemical reaction and yield information about the reaction's mechanism and transition states, as well as the construction of mathematical models that can describe the characteristics of a chemical reaction. Chemical kinetics deals with the experimental determination of reaction rates from which rate laws and rate constants are derived. Relatively simple rate laws exist for zero-order reactions, first-order reactions, and second-order reactions, and can be derived for others.

Facts about oxalic acid

Oxalic acid is classified as a dicarboxylic acid, chelating agent, conjugate base and reducing agent. Oxalic acid is mainly manufactured by the oxidation of carbohydrates or glucose using nitric acid or air in the presence of vanadium pentoxide. It undergoes many of the reactions characteristic of other carboxylic acids. It forms esters such as dimethyl oxalate. It forms an acid chloride called oxalyl chloride. Oxalic acid is an important reagent in lanthanide chemistry. Oxalic acid is rubbed onto completed marble sculptures to seal the surface and introduce a shine. It is also used to clean iron and manganese deposits from quartz crystals.

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