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VII.—Electrolytic Synthesis of Dibasic Acids

  • Alexander Crum Brown and James Walker


Forty years ago Kolbe showed that a strong aqueous solution of potassium acetate, when subjected to the influence of the electric current, is decomposed with formation of the following products. At the anode a gaseous mixture is evolved which consists chiefly of carbonic acid and ethan; while at the cathode hydrogen escapes, and potassium hydrate is formed in the solution. When dilute solutions of the same substance are electrolysed under similar conditions, the decomposition products at the cathode are the same as in the previous case, but at the anode the gas evolved is now oxygen, and free acetic acid makes its appearance in the solution. The difference between the two cases must, on modern views of electrolysis, be attributed to the occurrence of secondary reactions. The primary process is in all cases the transference of the electrically-charged submolecules or ions to the corresponding poles, where they lose their charges, and thereby become capable of reacting with one another or with neighbouring molecules. As a general rule they are, when discharged, themselves incapable of independent existence.



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page 211 note * Kolbe, , Chem. Soc., Quart. Jour., ii. 157, 1850.

page 211 note † Kolbe, loc. cit., 177.

page 212 note * Kolbe, loc. cit., 164.

page 212 note † Jahn, , Wiedemann's Annalen, xxxvii., 408, 1889.

page 212 note ‡ Jahn, loc. cit., p. 430; compare also Kolbe, loc. cit., p. 168.

page 212 note § Compare Brown, Crum, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin., xxiv. 331, 1866.

page 213 note * Brown, Crum, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin., 18891890, p. 53.

page 213 note † Guthrie, , Chem. Soc. Quar. Jour., ix. 131, 1856.

page 214 note * Jahn, loc. cit., 423.

page 216 note * Freund, , Berichte d. deut chem. Ges., xvii. 780, 1884.

page 217 note * Ostwald, , Zeitschrift für physikal. Chem., iii. 282, 1889.

page 217 note † Heintz, , Poggendorff's Annalen, cviii. 82, 1859.

page 219 note * Ostwald, loc. cit., 283.

page 219 note † Ostwald, loc. cit., 283.

page 219 note ‡ Bethmann, , Zeitsch. für physikal. Chem., v. 401, 1890.

page 221 note * Ostwald, loc. cit., 284.

page 224 note * This acid, recently prepared by Noerdlinger, (Berichte d. deut. Chem. Ges., 23, 2356, 1890), has in all probability the normal constitution.

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Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of The Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • ISSN: 1755-6910
  • EISSN: 1755-6929
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