Ammonium iron(III) sulfate


Ferric amm sulfate.jpg
Ferric Ammonium Sulfate Dodecahydrate formula.png
IUPAC name
Ammonium iron(III) sulfate
Other names
Ferric ammonium sulfate
Ferric alum
  • anhydride: 10138-04-2 checkY
  • dodecahydrate: 7783-83-7 checkY
3D model (JSmol)
  • anhydride: Interactive image
  • anhydride: 55405 checkY
ECHA InfoCard 100.030.335 Edit this at Wikidata
EC Number
  • anhydride: 233-382-4
  • dodecahydrate: 61485
  • anhydride: LUX2X1H1IC checkY
  • dodecahydrate: 65390568Z5 checkY
  • anhydride: DTXSID8051417 Edit this at Wikidata
  • InChI=1S/Fe.H3N.2H2O4S/c;;2*1-5(2,3)4/h;1H3;2*(H2,1,2,3,4)/q+3;;;/p-3 checkY
  • anhydride: InChI=1/Fe.H3N.2H2O4S/c;;2*1-5(2,3)4/h;1H3;2*(H2,1,2,3,4)/q+3;;;/p-3
  • anhydride: [Fe+3].[O-]S(=O)(=O)[O-].[O-]S([O-])(=O)=O.[NH4+]
Molar mass 482.25 g/mol (dodecahydrate)
Appearance Pale violet octahedral crystals
Odor weak ammonia-like
Density 1.71 g/cm3
Melting point 39 to 41 °C (102 to 106 °F; 312 to 314 K)
1240 g/L
Main hazards Irritant (Xi)
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
Related compounds
Other anions
Ammonium iron(III) citrate
Ammonium chloride
Other cations
Ammonium aluminium sulfate
potassium aluminium sulfate
Related compounds
Ammonium iron(II) sulfate
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Ammonium iron(III) sulfate, NH4Fe(SO4)2·12 H2O, or NH4[Fe(H2O)6](SO4)2·6 H2O, also known as ferric ammonium sulfate (FAS) or iron alum, is a double salt in the class of alums, which consists of compounds with the general formula AB(SO4)2 · 12 H2O.[2] It has the appearance of weakly violet, octahedrical crystals. There has been some discussion regarding the origin of the crystals' colour, with some ascribing it to impurities in the compound,[3] and others claiming it to be a property of the crystal itself.[4]

FAS is paramagnetic,[5] acidic and toxic towards microorganisms.[6] It is a weak oxidizing agent, capable of being reduced to Mohr's salt, ferrous ammonium sulfate.


FAS can be prepared by crystallization from a solution of ferric sulfate and ammonium sulfate. Iron(II) in ferrous sulfate is oxidized to ferric sulfate by addition of sulfuric and nitric acid. Upon addition of ammonium sulfate to the solution and damping in of the solution, ferric ammonium sulfate crystals precipitate. Equations for these conversions ignore the degree of hydration of the material.

Oxidation: 6 FeSO4 + 2 HNO3 + 3 H2SO4 = 3 Fe2(SO4)3 + 2 NO + 4 H2O

Synthesis: Fe2(SO4)3 + (NH4)2SO4 = 2 NH4Fe(SO4)2


Areas of use for FAS include waste water treatment,[7] tanning,[7] production of dyestuffs,[7] and as an etching agent in the production of electronic components.[8] It has been used in a wide area of applications, including adiabatic refrigeration equipment,[9] biochemical analysis[10] and organic synthesis.[11]



  1. ^
  2. ^ Considine, Douglas M: Chemical and process technology encyclopedia, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1974, p. 993
  3. ^ Christensen, Odin T. "On the Cause of the Amethyst Color of Ferric Alum and of Mixed Crystals of Ferric and Manganic Alum". Chem. Lab. Roy. Vet. Agr. Hochschule, KGL. Danske Vidsk. Selsk. Forh. 1906: 173–95.
  4. ^ Bonnell, Jane; Philip Perman, Edgar (1921). "CCXXIX.—The colour of iron alum". J. Chem. Soc., Trans. 119: 1994–1997. doi:10.1039/CT9211901994.
  5. ^ Cooke, Meyer; Wolf (1956). "The Specific Heats of Three Paramagnetic salts at Very Low Temperatures". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences. 237 (1210): 395–403. Bibcode:1956RSPSA.237..395C. doi:10.1098/rspa.1956.0185. S2CID 97076961.
  6. ^ Wang, Fei; et al. (2008). "Microcalorimetric investigation of the toxic action of ammonium ferric(III)sulfate on the metabolic activity of pure microbes". Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology. 25 (3): 351–357. doi:10.1016/j.etap.2007.11.004. PMID 21783873.
  7. ^ a b c Wiley Encyclopedia of inorganic chemistry: Volume 4, p. 1704:
  8. ^ Chen et al.: United States Patent 5518131 – "Etching molydbenum with ferric sulfate and ferric ammonium sulfate"
  9. ^ Grant W. Wilson, Peter T. Timbie: "Construction techniques for adiabatic demagnetization refrigerators using ferric ammonium alum". Cryogenics, Volume 39, Number 4, (1999) , pp. 319–322
  10. ^ J. C. Whitehorn: "A system of blood analysis. Supplement II. Simplified method for the determination of chlorides in blood or plasma". Journal of Biological Chemistry (1921), 45 p. 449–60.
  11. ^ Yu, Shanxin; et al. (2005). "Application of ammonium ferric sulfate dodecahydrate in organic synthesis". General Review. 17 (1): 27–30.