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Vitriol is a synonym for Sulphuric Acid. The name 'vitriol' comes from the Latin word 'vitreus' meaning 'glass'. This was the description of the 'glassy' appearance of the hydrated sulphate salts when Sulphuric Acid was first produced.
Vitriol is also comonnly known as Oil of Vitriol or Spirit of Vitriol. Sulphuric Acid can be spelt with a 'ph' or an 'f' as in Sulfuric Acid. Its chemical name is H2SO4. All refer to the same material, Vitriol or Sulphuric Acid.
Vitriol was first produced as far back as the 8th Century and its roots can be traced back to the ancient alchemists, vitriol having performed a vital function in alchemy as it does not react with gold, the major product in most alchemy synthesis.
Much later in the 1830's Peregrine Phillips patented the 'contact process' of manufacturing Sulphuric Acid or Vitriol. This method is described in detail on the Sulphuric Acid Manufacture page of this website.
Vitriol is believed to be a good measure of the development of a country, as the use of Vitriol plays a key role in a wide range of manufacturing industries. In brief, Vitriol is used in paper-making, in the manufacture of Aluminium Hydroxide which is used as a filter in water treatment, in the steel-making industry as a scale and rust remover, in the manufacture of Phosphate fertilizers and in a dilute form as Battery Acid in the motor industry. It is said that the more Vitriol is used in a country, the more industrially developed that country is.
Millions of tonnes of Sulphuric Acid or Vitriol are produced each year and Vitriol is one of the most important chemical acids in the world.
Great care must be taken when handling or working with Vitriol as it is classified as extremely Corrosive, causing severe skin burns and eye damage. If ingested Vitriol will cause severe burns to the throat and mouth, whilst inhalatin of Vitriol willl cause severe damageto the nose, throat and lungs. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should always be worn and this will include eye protection, goggles or face-mask, protective clothing and suitable gloves. Further information can be found of the page of this website entitled Sulphuric Acid Hazards.
Vitriol reacts violently when it comes into contact with water, generating heat; this is known as an exothermic reaction. Vitriol also reacts violently with most metals and produced Hydrogen gas which is an explosive.
If Vitiol is accidentally allowed to enter a water source or sewer, it will change the pH of the water and will harm aquatic life.
Packaging, labelling and transportation of Vitriol are all governed by legislation and further information can be found on the pages of the website entitled Sulphuric Acid Packaging, Sulphuric Acid Labelling and Transporting Sulphuric Acid.
http://www.sulphuric-acid.co.uk/vitriol | Saved Friday, November 18th, 2011 - 6:14 AM