Arsenicum sulphuratum flavum
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Arsenum Citrinum, Auripigmentum, As2S3
from Latin auripigmentum [aurum = gold, pigmentum = paint]
English: Arsenious Sulphide, Orpiment, Arsenic Trisulphide
German: gelbes Schwefelarsen
Minerals; Inorganic; Column Five
Proved by Langhammer.
Description of the substance
A yellow or orange powder; odourless. Poison! It is insoluble in water and alcohol; soluble in alkalies; slowly soluble in hot hydrochloric acid and decomposes in boiling dilute nitric acid with separation of sulphur. Its specific gravity is 3.43 and melts at 300. It is found in nature and is also prepared by the action of hydrogen sulphide on aqueous solution of arsenious oxide. Contains not less than 98 per cent of As2S3.
This solid and flaky mineral seldom consists of crystals. Its colour is usually golden yellow, and sometimes brown or orange. The hardness level is 1.5, which is very soft. The mineral comes about in mineral canals in low temperatures, often together with red realgar [Ars-s-r.], or as a deposit in hot springs.
In Aristotle's time, arsenic was used to harden copper. Orpiment and realgar have long been used as depilatories in the leather industry. Orpiment rubbed on silver gives the surface a golden colour. Orpiment thus appears to have one of the properties attributed to the philosophers' stone. Therefore it was an important material for alchemists.
Arsenic is widely distributed in nature, and this element occasionally is found uncombined, generally in association with such metals as antimony and silver.
Significant exposure to arsenic occurs through both anthropogenic and natural sources. A. is released into the air by volcanoes and is a natural contaminant of some deep-water wells. Occupational exposure to a. is common in the smelting industry (in which a. is a byproduct of ores containing lead, gold, zinc, cobalt, and nickel) and is increasing in the microelectronics industry (in which gallium arsenide is responsible). Low-level a. exposure continues to take place in the general population (as do some cases of high-dose poisoning) through the commercial use of inorganic a. compounds in common products such as wood preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and paints; through the consumption of foods and the smoking of tobacco treated with arsenic-containing pesticides; and through the burning of fossil fuels in which a. is a contaminant. A. was also a major ingredient of Fowler's solution and continues to be found in some folk remedies.
(Chem.) Arsenic sesquisulphide, produced artificially as an amorphous lemon-yellow powder, and occurring naturally as a yellow crystalline mineral; — formerly called auripigment.
Natural mineral (at Mineralogy Database) found throughout the world as a low-temperature product of hydrothermal veins, hot-spring deposits, and volcanic sublimation. A yellow monoclinic mineral occurring in foliated to granular masses or as short, prismatic crystals, having a specific gravity of 3.49 and a hardness of 1.5 to 2 on the Mohs scale; found as a hot spring deposit and in low-temperature veining. Orpiment is a rare mineral that usually forms with realgar. In fact the two minerals are almost always together. These pigments are natural mineral compounds based on arsenic and sulfur. It is a pigment of organic, mineral and synthetic origin. It is a try-sulphate of arsenic which is obtained by diluting arsenic in chloridric acid in a current of sulphur hydrogen. Crystals of orpiment are extremely rare as it usually forms masses and crusts. The masses are sometimes transparent to a degree and have a gemmy quality to them. The yellow color is special to orpiment and can be confused only with a few other minerals. Over time, orpiment will deteriorate into a powder. The process takes a long time, but exposure to light will accelerate it. Physical characteristis: orange-yellow to yellow in colour; luster is resinous to pearly; transparency crystals are translucent to transparent.; Crystal System Monoclinic; 2/m; crystal habit: is usually foliated or earthy masses and crusts, also fiberous and as small tabular crystals that appear orthorhombic; cleavage is perfect in one direction producing flexible, non-elastic flakes; fracture is flaky; hardness is 1.5-2,; specific gravity is 3.5; streak is yellow; associated minerals: realgar, calcite, stibnite, barite, and gypsum. Also usually has a distinct odor similar to sulfur, but is due to the arsenic. Orpiment is unstable in light; specimens should be stored in complete darkness. It is greatly subject to decay and corrosion.