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Alchemical diagram from Daniel Stolz von Stolzenberg, Theatrum Chymicum, 1614 representing VITRIOL as the alchemical motto Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem ('Visit the interior of the earth and rectifying (i.e. purifying), you will find the hidden/secret stone'), found in L'Azoth des Philosophes by the 15th century alchemist Basilius Valentinus. This is a backronym, sometimes incorrectly said to be the origin of the word "vitriol".

In chemistry, vitriol is an archaic name for a sulfate, and vitriol names have the obvious meaning: for example, vitriol of lead is lead sulfate, and so on. The word vitriol comes from the Latin word "vitriolum" for "glassy", as crystals of several metallic sulfates resemble pieces of colored glass.

Vitriol with no further qualification often means sulfuric acid.

Vitriol Chemical Comment Formula
Black vitriol   a mixture[A] [Cu,Mg,Fe,Mn,Co,Ni]SO4·7H2O[B]
Blue vitriol copper(II) sulfate pentahydrate CuSO4·5H2O
Green vitriol iron(II) sulfate heptahydrate FeSO4·7H2O
Oil of vitriol sulfuric acid not a sulfate H2SO4
Red vitriol cobalt(II) sulfate heptahydrate CoSO4·7H2O
Roman vitriol copper(II) sulfate pentahydrate CuSO4·5H2O
Spirit of vitriol sulfuric acid not a sulfate H2SO4
Sweet oil of vitriol diethyl ether not a sulfate CH3-CH2-O-CH2-CH3
Vitriol of argile aluminium sulfate alum Al2(SO4)3
Vitriol of clay aluminium sulfate alum Al2(SO4)3
Vitriol of Cyprus copper(II) sulfate pentahydrate CuSO4·5H2O
Vitriol of Mars iron(III) sulfate Ferric sulfate Fe2(SO4)3
Vitriol martial iron(III) sulfate Ferric sulfate Fe2(SO4)3
White vitriol zinc sulfate heptahydrate ZnSO4·7H2O
A Many websites state "black vitriol is a mixture of iron sulfate and iron sulfite", but none give a reference of any sort. The book, Chemistry, Inorganic & Organic, with Experiments, by Bloxam[1] is a published, reliable reference for the composition of black vitriol, and it states on page 513, "The formula of black vitriol may be written [CuMgFeMnCoNi]SO4·7H2O, the six isomorphous metals being interchangeable without altering the general character of the salt."
B "Any combination of these elements may be found in black vitriol."[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Bloxam, Charles Loudon; Bloxam, Arthur G.; Lewis, S. Judd (1913). "Copper, Cu = 63.57". Chemistry, Inorganic & Organic, with Experiments (hardcover) (Tenth ed.). Philadelphia: P. Blakiston's Son & Co. p. 513. The formula of black vitriol may be written [CuMgFeMnCoNi]SO4·7H2O, the six isomorphous metals being interchangeable without altering the general character of the salt.