chromium(VI) oxide

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A red compound, CrO3; rhombic; r.d. 2.70; m.p. 196°C. It can be made by careful addition of concentrated sulphuric acid to an ice-cooled concentrated aqueous solution of sodium dichromate with stirring. The mixture is then filtered through sintered glass, washed with nitric acid, then dried at 120°C in a desiccator.

Chromium(VI) oxide is an extremely powerful oxidizing agent, especially to organic matter; it immediately inflames ethanol. It is an acidic oxide and dissolves in water to form ‘chromic acid’, a powerful oxidizing agent and cleansing fluid for glassware. At 400°C, chromium(VI) oxide loses oxygen to give chromium(III) oxide.

Subjects: Chemistry.

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