Procedure.—Grind the mineral (Note 1) to a fine powder. Weigh out accurately two portions of about 0.5 gram (Note 2) into porcelain crucibles; heat these crucibles to dull redness for ten minutes, allow them to cool, and place them, with their contents, in beakers containing 30 cc. of dilute hydrochloric acid (sp. gr. 1.12). Heat at a temperature just below boiling until the undissolved residue is white or until solvent action has ceased. If the residue is white, or known to be free from iron, it may be neglected and need not be removed by filtration. If a dark residue remains, collect it on a filter, wash free from hydrochloric acid, and ignite the filter in a platinum crucible (Note 3). Mix the ash with five times its weight of sodium carbonate and heat to fusion; cool, and disintegrate the fused mass with boiling water in the crucible. Unite this solution and precipitate (if any) with the acid solution, taking care to avoid loss by effervescence. Wash out the crucible, heat the acid solution to boiling, add stannous chloride solution until it is colorless, avoiding a large excess (Note 4); cool, and when !cold!, add 40 cc. of mercuric chloride solution, dilute to 200 cc., and proceed with the titration as already described.
From the standardization data already obtained, and the known weight of the sample, calculate the percentage of iron (Fe) in the limonite.
[Note 1: Limonite is selected as a representative of iron ores in general. It is a native, hydrated oxide of iron. It frequently occurs in or near peat beds and contains more or less organic matter which, if brought into solution, would be acted upon by the potassium bichromate. This organic matter is destroyed by roasting. Since a high temperature tends to lessen the solubility of ferric oxide, the heat should not be raised above low redness.]
[Note 2: It is sometimes advantageous to dissolve a large portion—say 5 grams—and to take one tenth of it for titration. The sample will then represent more closely the average value of the ore.]
[Note 3: A platinum crucible may be used for the roasting of the limonite and must be used for the fusion of the residue. When used, it must not be allowed to remain in the acid solution of ferric chloride for any length of time, since the platinum is attacked and dissolved, and the platinic chloride is later reduced by the stannous chloride, and in the reduced condition reacts with the bichromate, thus introducing an error. It should also be noted that copper and antimony interfere with the determination of iron by the bichromate process.]
[Note 4: The quantity of stannous chloride required for the reduction of the iron in the limonite will be much larger than that added to the solution of iron wire, in which the iron was mainly already in the ferrous condition. It should, however, be added from a dropper to avoid an unnecessary excess.]