3
$\begingroup$

I really see no relation between the terms microcosmic and the salt's structural formula, $\ce{Na(NH4)HPO4.4H2O}$.

Devoting sufficient time on Google didn't help at all.

Information about the name of this compound is what I'm searching for, thanks in advance for sharing.

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ From Meriam Webster Dictionary Online translation of New Latin sal microcosmicus; from the fact that it was originally obtained from human urine- still not enough information to discern the link between microcosmicus and urine. $\endgroup$ – user2617804 Aug 2 '15 at 8:12
3
$\begingroup$

Devoting sufficient time on Google didn't help at all.

Hmmm... I found this PDF in just a few seconds, where we read the following.

The origin of the name microcosmic salt.

Beads of sodium metaphosphate saturated with some oxides cool to a clear glass. Small crystals grow in the glass on repeated heating and cooling. A microscope with a 80 to 100 x magnification is needed to inspect these crystals with various morphologies. Such beads resemble a microcosmos. Some authors tried to use the effect for analytical purposes in the 19th century, but these efforts failed. Borax beads sometimes show the same effect.

Microcosmos here is understood (as usual) as a "small world", a "world in miniature".

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.