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Chemistry Formulas

Oxalic Acid Formula

Oxalic acid is also known as ethanedioic acid. By nature and structure, it is a strong dicarboxylic acid. Oxalic acid is a naturally occurring organic acid in plants and vegetables. Not only this, but it is also produced in the body by metabolism of ascorbic acid or glyoxylic acid. There are many uses of oxalic acid. The most significant one is its application in the cleaning industry such as laundries, bleaching, dyeing, etc. This article will discuss the Oxalic acid formula with examples. Let us learn it!

Oxalic Acid formula

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Oxalic Acid formula

What is Oxalic Acid?

The oxalic acid formula is one of the organic compounds and it occurs in various vegetables and plants. It is a strong dicarboxylic acid and is also toxic. It is the simplest dicarboxylic acid, and it contains just two carboxylic acid groups i.e (COOH) and directly attached to each other at the carbon atoms.

Oxalic Acid Chemical and Structural Formula

Its formula is:

\(C_{2}H_{2}O_{4}\)

Or

\((COOH)_{2}\)

Occurrence

Oxalic acid and its various oxalate derivatives are available in several natural sources. Some of these sources are plants, vegetables, leaves, wood, and coal, etc. Our body is also producing it in our body by the metabolism process of glyoxylic acid or ascorbic acid. It is commonly prepared with the help of oxidation of carbohydrates such as sucrose or glucose using nitric acid.

In such reactions, catalysis will be vanadium pentoxide. One may also prepare it by reacting alcohols with carbon monoxide in the presence of oxygen. It is to give the diesters of oxalic acid, which are then subjected to hydrolysis to give oxalic acid.

Properties

Oxalic acid is an odorless, crystalline white solid compound. Its density is 1.9 gram per mL. Its melting point is 190 °C. It is commonly available in the hydrate form i.e. \((COOH)_{2} \cdot 2H2O\). It is easily water-soluble and then it forms a colorless and acidic solution in it.

Anhydrous oxalic acid is very hydrophilic and able to absorb the water. It is a strong acid by nature. It is the simplest dicarboxylic acid and can react like a typical carboxylic acid. Through this, it can form acid chloride and ester derivatives. It is a good reducing agent and it is useful as a good chelating ligand for various metal cations.

Applications

  • As a strong acid, it is useful as an acid rinse in laundries, removing scales.
  • It is useful in dyeing and bleaching industry.
  • It is also useful in the extraction of lanthanide metals and as a reducing agent and analytical reagent.

Solved Examples

Q.1: Determine the molar mass of the Oxalic Acid.

Solution: Its molecular formula is as:

\(C_{2}H_{2}O_{4}\)

Atomic mass of C = 12.0107

Atomic mass of H = 1.00784

The Atomic mass of O = 15.999

Thus its molar mass will be:

= \(2 \times 12.0107 + 2 \times 1.00784 +4 \times 15.999\)

= 90.03 gram per mole.

Therefore, the molar mass of Oxalic acid will be 90.03 gram per mole.

Q.2: What are health issues with Oxalic acid?

Solution:

  • It is toxic and harmful acid.
  • If it is inhaled, then it can severely damage the mucous membranes and respiratory tract too.
  • It may produce symptoms such as cough, wheezing, laryngitis, and shortness of breath.
  • Its contact with skin or eyes can cause severe irritation, burns and tissue damage.
  • If anyone swallows it, then it may lead to kidney failure.
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