It is a crystalline solid, which melts at 30° C. and boils at 190 8° C. Fusion with alkalis converts it into salicylic acid.
It dissolves in alkalis to form well-defined crystalline salts; potassium aurate, KAu0 2.3H 2 O, is very soluble in water, and is used in electrogilding.
Sugar, starch and cellulose) by nitric acid, and also by the fusion of many oxygen-holding compounds with caustic alkalis, this latter method being employed for the manufacture of oxalic acid.
The causticity of alkaline bodies was explained at that time as depending on the presence in them of the principle of fire, "phlogiston"; quicklime, for instance, was chalk which had taken up phlogiston, and when mild alkalis such as sodium or potassium carbonate were causticized by its aid, the phlogiston was supposed to pass from it to them.
In common with Gay Lussac and Davy, he held subterraneous thermic disturbances to be probably due to the contact of water with metals of the alkalis and alkaline earths.