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Potassium Ferricyanide
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Detecting free Iron :   Spray the surface with a solution of potassium ferricyanide. If free iron is present, a blue color will appear. This test is extremely sensitive and often gives false positive results, that is, it gives an indication of iron being present when it really is not. The ferroxyl solution must be made fresh each day by addition with Nitric acid. The ferroxyl tests are described in ASTM A380.

Ferroxyl indicator is a solution containing potassium hexacyanoferrate(III) and phenolphthalein. It turns blue in the presence of Fe2+ ions, pink in the presence of hydroxide ions, it can be used to detect metal oxidation. It is often used to detect rusting in various situations.

It can be prepared by dissolving 10g sodium chloride and 1g potassium hexacyanoferrate(III) in distilled water, adding 10 cm3 phenolphthalein indicator, then making up to 500 cm3 with distilled water.


IUPAC name  :  Potassium hexacyanoferrate(III)
CAS number 13746-66-2 Y
PubChem 26250
RTECS number LJ8225000

Molecular formula C6N6FeK3
Molar mass     329.24 g/mol
Appearance   deep red crystals
Density           1.89 g/cm3, solid
Melting point   300 °C, 573 K, 572 °F
Boiling point :  decomp.
Solubility in water 330 g/L ("cold water")
464 g/L (20°C)
775 g/L ("hot water")[1]
Solubility slightly soluble in alcohol
soluble in acid
soluble in water

Technical Specifications

Physical state and appearanceSolid. (crystalline powder.)

OdorNot available

TasteNot available

Molecular Weight329.25 g/mole


pH (1% soln/water)Not available

Boiling PointNot available

Melting PointDecomposes

Critical TemperatureNot available

Specific Gravity1.85 (Water = 1)

Vapor PressureNot applicable

Vapor DensityNot available

VolatilityNot available

Odor ThresholdNot available

Water/Oil Dist. CoeffNot available

Ionicity (in Water)Not available

Dispersion PropertiesSee solubility in water

SolubilitySoluble in cold water

StabilityThe product is stable

Instability TemperatureNot available

Conditions of InstabilityHeat, light, incompatible materials

Incompatibility with various substancesReactive with acids

CorrosivityNon-corrosive in presence of glass


Potassium ferricyanide is also one of two compounds present in ferroxyl indicator solution (along with phenolphthalein) which turns blue (Prussian blue) in the presence of Fe2+ ions, and which can therefore be used to detect metal oxidation that will lead to rust. It is possible to calculate the number of moles of Fe2+ ions by using a colorimeter, because of the very intense color of Prussian blue Fe4[Fe(CN)6]3.



Potassium ferricyanide has very low toxicity, its main hazard being that it is a mild irritant to the eyes and skin. However, under very strongly acidic conditions, highly toxic hydrogen cyanide gas is evolved, according to the equation:

6 H+ + [Fe(CN)6]3− → 6 HCN + Fe3+[9]

The reaction with hydrochloric acid is as follows:

6 HCl + K3[Fe(CN)6] → 6 HCN + FeCl3 + 3 KCl



You may click here to know more about passivation liquid , other methods for PASSIVATION TEST

Do you know A-A-A methods for Passivation ?  click here............


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