Another secret of meteorites

What meteorite secrets do you know?

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

At­ten­tion! All ex­per­i­ments are per­formed by pro­fes­sion­als. Do not at­tempt.

Process de­scrip­tion

The lamel­lar struc­ture of the me­te­orite is called a Wid­manstät­ten struc­ture. It forms when me­te­orites cool ex­treme­ly slow­ly in space. The met­als that make up the me­te­orite grad­u­al­ly dis­solve in hy­drochlo­ric acid, yield­ing iron(II) chlo­ride, which rapid­ly re­acts with oxy­gen dis­solved in the acid to form iron(III) chlo­ride. Iron(III) chlo­ride re­acts with potas­si­um hex­a­cyano­fer­rate(II) to form a pig­ment known as Prus­sian blue. The added sodi­um flu­o­ride re­acts with iron(III) chlo­ride, af­ter which the iron cations prac­ti­cal­ly stop in­ter­act­ing with oth­er reagents. There­fore, nick­el cations can be de­tect­ed by adding dimethyl­gly­oxime – the so­lu­tion turns pink­ish-red as a new nick­el com­pound forms. When potas­si­um thio­cyanate is added, cobalt cations re­act with it, and the re­sult­ing com­pound turns bu­tan-1-ol blue. Iron, nick­el, and cobalt are met­als with sig­nif­i­cant mag­net­ic prop­er­ties, so a piece of me­te­orite is strong­ly at­tract­ed to a mag­net.

More sci­en­tif­ic se­crets await you in the MEL Chem­istry sub­scrip­tion!