This salt may be used for the separation of cobalt and nickel, since the latter metal does not form a similar double nitrite, but it is necessary that the alkaline earth metals should be absent, for in their presence nickel forms complex nitrites containing the alkaline earth metal and the alkali metal.
The diammine salts are prepared by the action of alkaline nitrites on cobaltous salts in the presence of much ammonium chloride or nitrate; they are yellow or brown crystalline solids, not very soluble in cold water.
The formation of nitrites and nitrates from ammonia and its compounds in the soil, was formerly held to be a purely chemical process, until Schloesing and Mintz suggested in 1877 that it was biological.
Thus from ethyl alcohol there can be prepared compounds, termed esters, or ethereal salts, exactly comparable in structure with corresponding salts of, say, potassium; by the action of the phosphorus haloids, the hydroxyl group is replaced by a halogen atom with the formation of derivatives of the type R Cl(Br,I); nitric acid forms nitrates, R O NO 2; nitrous acid, nitrites, R O NO; sulphuric acid gives normal sulphates R 2 SO 4, or acid sulphates, R SO 4 H.
Torray's observations on nitromalonic aldehyde, N02 CH(CHO)2,formed by acting on mucobromic acid, probably CHO CBr:CBr:000H, with alkaline nitrites; this substance condenses with acetone to give p-nitrophenol, and forms [I.3.5]-trinitrobenzene when its sodium salt is decomposed with an acid.
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