Ferric Chloride (FeCl2 or Fe2Cl6)

Preparation :


1. Anhydrous FeCl3 is obtained by passing dry Cl2 gas over red hot iron.

2Fe + 3Cl2                →               2FeCl3


2. Hydrated ferric chloride is obtained by dissolving iron in aquaregia or by dissolving Fe2O3 or Fe (OH)3 in HCl. On crystallization FeCl3 solution gives yellow crystals of FeCl3 6H2O.

2Fe + 9HCl + 3HNO3         →    2FeCl3 + 3NOCl + 6H2O

Fe2O3 + 6HCl              →           2FeCl3 + 3H2O

Fe (OH)2  + 6HCl               →                FeCl3 + 3 H2O


FeCl3 (ag)     crystallization    →        FeCl3.6H2O

Yellow crytals




1. Anhydrous FeCl3 is black amorphous solid while hydrated FeCl3 is yellow crysaline solid.

2. At lower temperature (4000c) the vapor density of ferric chloxde corresponds to the molecular formula Fe2Cl6. Fe2Cl6 is chlorine bridged dimeric structure.




At higher temperature (7000c), Fecl3 decompose forming ferrous chloride.

FeCl3   above 700     →         2FeCl2 + Cl2


3. Hydrolysis

The aqueous solution of FeCl3 is acidic due to hydrolysis to form weak base and strong acid.

FeCl3 + 3H2O            →              Fe(OH)3      +   3HCl

Weak base        strong acid


4. Reaction with potassium Ferro cyanide:

Ferric chloride reacts with potassium ferro cyanide forming a prussiara blue colouration of ferric ferro cyanide.

4FeCl3 + 3 K4 [Fe (CN)6]0           →       Fe4 [Fe (CN)6]3 + 12KCl

Prussian blue ferroc ferro cyanide


5. Reaction with ammonium thiocyanate:

Ferric chloride gives a blood red coloration of Ferric thiocyanate with ammonium thiocyanate.

FeCl3  + 3 NH4CNS                 →           [Fe (CNS)3]     + 3NH4Cl

Ferric thiocyanate

Blood red

6. Reaction with Ammonium hydroxide:

Ferric chloride gives a reddish brown ppt of ferric hydroxide with Ammonium Hydroxide solution.

FeCl3   + 3NH4OH           →       Fe (OH)3    + 3NH4Cl

Ferric hydroxide

Reddish brown


1. It is used in medicine as astrigents and antiseptic.

2. It is used as mordant in dying.

3. It is used as a catalyst in friedal craft’s reaction.

4. It is used to etch metals like Cu, Ag, during making block.