I am not chemist: I live in the part of the world that you can't find many things, but I have HCl and bunch of nails. I there way to make ferric chloride from these things? If this doesn't work what else can I do to make ferric chloride?


1 Answer 1


You can find a glass beaker somewhere and simply drop in iron and diluted HCl. That's enough to make $\ce{FeCl2}$.

$\ce{Fe + 2HCl -> FeCl2 + H2}$

That forms hydrogen gas, which is very flammable, so it would be wise to do this outside. You might have to heat or reflux (heat the hell out of it while condensing whatever tries to evaporate out) depending on what concentration you use. Anyway, the resulting solution is gold-colored.

You'd then need to oxidize the Fe from a +2 state to a +3 state. I found this guide that recommends hydrogen peroxide (probably as a safer alternative to potentially stronger oxidizing agents.) It says it can take several days, so that's something to watch for.

Good luck! Again, I'd definitely do this outside or in a lab.


Also, I've heard that not all nails are made of iron, so a density test could help ensure that.

  • $\begingroup$ "Heat the hell out of it" is certainly advice I would not want to follow. I think this post lacks a certain level of security instructions, especially since there is a highly flammable gas produced. $\endgroup$ Apr 6, 2016 at 5:12
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    $\begingroup$ Oxidation of Fe from +2 to +3 is not something you need to care much about. Normally it happens by itself, thanks to the oxygen in the air; BTW, that's what may take several days. As for the oxidation with hydrogen peroxide, it occurs instantly. $\endgroup$ Apr 6, 2016 at 6:28

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