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Basic Beryllium Acetate, 3Be(C2H3O2)2.BeO

Basic Beryllium Acetate, 3Be(C2H3O2)2.BeO, is too important for the isolation and purification of beryllium to be unnoticed. Its composition and vapour density also favour a divalent beryllium with an atomic weight of about 9, and it is specially suitable for the accurate determination of the latter.

Urbain and Lacombe, in 1901, obtained it in small octahedral crystals by evaporating down a solution of beryllium hydroxide in dilute acetic acid, dissolving the residue in boiling anhydrous acetic acid and cooling. Parsons dissolved basic beryllium carbonate in glacial acetic acid, boiled off the excess of acid, and obtained the same crystals by cooling a solution of the residue in boiling glacial acetic acid.

It melts to a clear liquid at 283°-284° C., and boils without decomposition at 330°-331° C. Since the vapour can be heated to 360° C. in the presence of air without any alteration, its vapour density can be readily determined.

Its density, referred to water at 4° C., is 1.362. It is readily soluble in chloroform and other organic solvents, though only slightly so in alcohol or ether. Water hydrolyses it: slowly in the cold, rapidly when hot. It becomes soluble after complete hydrolysis. Dry air has no action upon it. Ordinary acids free acetic acid from it. The water they contain is probably the agent of their action, for it is remarkable that, though it is a basic compound, its solution in glacial acetic acid is unchanged by saturation with hydrogen chloride.

By heating in a sealed tube at 150° C. with glacial acetic acid and acetic anhydride, the basic acetate is converted into the normal acetate. When the normal acetate is heated above 300° C. it melts with decomposition and the basic acetate sublimes.

The corresponding basic formate, basic propionate, basic isobuty- rate, basic butyrate, and basic isovalerate are also well defined and relatively stable.

Tanatar assigned the general formula Be2OR6 (instead of Be4OR6) to the above salts - ascribing tetravalency to beryllium.

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