Vitriol

In chemistry, a vitriol is a sulfate, and vitriol names have the obvious meaning: for example, vitriol of lead is plumbous (lead(II)) sulfate, and so on. The word vitriol comes from the Latin word vitriolum for glassy, as crystals of several metallic sulfates resemble pieces of colored glass. The term "vitriolic" in the sense of "harshly condemnatory" is derived from the pungent and acidic nature of these substances.

Vitriol with no further qualification often means sulfuric acid.

VitriolChemicalCommentFormula
Black vitriol a mixture[A][Cu,Mg,Fe,Mn,Co,Ni]SO4·7H2O[B]
Blue vitriolcopper(II) sulfatepentahydrateCuSO4·5H2O
Green vitrioliron(II) sulfateheptahydrateFeSO4·7H2O
Copperasiron(II) sulfateheptahydrateFeSO4·7H2O
Oil of vitriolsulfuric acidnot a sulfateH2SO4
Red vitriolcobalt(II) sulfateheptahydrateCoSO4·7H2O
Roman vitrioliron(II) sulfateheptahydrateFeSO4·7H2O
Spirit of vitriolsulfuric acidnot a sulfateH2SO4
Sweet oil of vitrioldiethyl ethernot a sulfateCH3-CH2-O-CH2-CH3
Vitriol of argilealuminium sulfatealumAl2(SO4)3
Vitriol of clayaluminium sulfatealumAl2(SO4)3
Vitriol of Cypruscopper(II) sulfatepentahydrateCuSO4·5H2O
Vitriol of Marsiron(III) sulfateFerric sulfateFe2(SO4)3
White vitriolzinc sulfateheptahydrateZnSO4·7H2O
A Many websites state "black vitriol is a mixture of iron sulfate and iron sulfite", but none gives a reference of any sort. The book, Chemistry, Inorganic & Organic, with Experiments, by Bloxam[1] is a published, reliable reference for the composition of black vitriol, and it states on page 513, "The formula of black vitriol may be written [CuMgFeMnCoNi]SO4·7H2O, the six isomorphous metals being interchangeable without altering the general character of the salt."
B "Any combination of these elements may be found in black vitriol."[1]

References

  1. Bloxam, Charles Loudon; Bloxam, Arthur G.; Lewis, S. Judd (1913). "Copper, Cu = 63.57". Chemistry, Inorganic & Organic, with Experiments (Tenth ed.). Philadelphia: P. Blakiston's Son & Co. p. 513. The formula of black vitriol may be written [CuMgFeMnCoNi]SO4·7H2O, the six isomorphous metals being interchangeable without altering the general character of the salt.
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