Excerpt from Biochemical Studies of Mercaptan: Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Pure Science of Columbia University
On boiling with potassium hydroxide mercuric mercaptide is not changed.... Oxidizing agents do not affect it, except nitric acid, by which it is violently decomposed with the formation of an oily product. By concentrated hydrochloric acid it is dissolved into a clear ¿uid which is turned pale yellow by the addition of a potassium salt. Aqua regia also decomposes it with the formation of sulfur chloride and an unusually pungent steam. Melted mercuric mercaptide is decomposed by equal parts of metallic lead and lead mercaptide, and lead amalgam is formed.
It has been attempted unsuccessfully to join the radical mer captan to sulfur by fusion. When mixed with mercuric chloride they fuse together easily, and on heating at a high temperature a colorless, thin, ethereal ¿uid is formed which differs from mer captan. This contains chloride from which it is separated by decomposition with metallic mercury, leaving a metallic mass as a residue which may be drawn into long ribbons.
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