# What is this colorless ferric solution?

I made a solution of iron acetate by placing steel wool in one litre of acetic acid (vinegar $5\%$) and adding a few tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide of questionable age. The solution turned a nice brown almost instantly upon shaking.

I left it overnight and it lost its colour while forming a white precipitate:

I added some more peroxide (new, good peroxide this time), and the moment the peroxide hit the clear an colorless solution it looked like dark red-brown food-coloring! Unfortunately I could only get out my camera fast enough to make the following photo:

I squeezed the air out of the steel wool before the above picture, which caused it to sink (noted this so you don't think something of its sinking). Added one-fourth cup hydrogen peroxide and shook:

With a flash from the top:

Held up to the light:

The result seems to be ferric acetate (III), since ferric acetate (II) is light brown in color (according to the Wikipedia link)--possibly like the light brown in the first/top photo. Ferric acetate (III) is supposed to be a red-brown color (again according to the Wikipedia link).

It is the clear an colourless solution in the second picture that I am not certain as to its composition. Any assistance will be appreciated in identifying that solution.

I would hypothesize that the white precipitate is either acetate or carbonate (more likely carbonate). I would guess that the clear solution occurred as a result of the solution interacting with either the steel wool or the air. I took the steel wool out after making the final dark red solution and it has been 2 days now without it diminishing in colour, so it is likely not the air that was interacting with the solution. Perhaps, if I placed the steel wool back in the solution, it might go clear again. I'll post again in a day or two.