Designating or of a colorless acid, HCOOH, that is extremely irritating to the skin: it is found in living organisms, as ants, spiders, and nettles, and is prepared commercially for use in dyeing textiles, treating leather, preserving food, etc.
The sharp, broken end penetrates the skin, and into the slight wound thus formed the formic acid contained by the hair is injected.
Glycerin is also employed in the manufacture of formic acid.
Strong oxidation breaks the benzene complex into such compounds, as carbon dioxide, oxalic acid, formic acid, &c.; such decompositions are of little interest.
It behaves as a powerful reducing agent, and on hydrolysis with dilute mineral acids is decomposed into formaldehyde and hydroxylamine, together with some formic acid and ammonia, the amount of each product formed varying with temperature, time of reaction, amount of water present, &c. This latter reaction is probably due to some of the oxime existing in the form of the isomeric formamide HCO NH 2.