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Osmium Trichloride, OsCl3

Osmium Trichloride, OsCl3, is obtained1 by heating osmium, obtained by reduction of the dioxide in hydrogen, in chlorine at about 1050° C., and cooling the vapour rapidly. It then contains some admixed osmium tetrachloride.

A purer product is prepared by igniting ammonium chlorosmate, (NH4)2OsCl6, in chlorine at 350° C. Osmium trichloride, obtained by the foregoing method, is a brownish black, crystalline powder, which is hygroscopic and readily soluble in water, yielding a dark brown solution. This solution is stable even when boiled, although it possesses a slightly acid reaction.

The trihydrate, OsCl3.3H2O, is obtained as follows: osmic acid on prolonged boiling with hydrochloric acid and a little alcohol yields, on evaporation, red crystals of composition OsCl3.OsCl4.7H2O, which are attacked by moist air yielding an olive-green mass. On solution in alcohol, and addition of potassium chloride, crystals of potassium chlorosmate, K2OsCl6, are obtained, the filtrate yielding, on evaporation, dark green crystals of the hydrated trichloride, OsCl3.3H2O. These, on heating in a current of hydrogen, are reduced to osmium, hydrogen chloride and water vapour being evolved. At the same time a minute trace of yellow sublimate is obtained, which Moraht and Wischin suggest may be a higher chloride, possibly the octachloride, OsCl8.

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