Our Most Popular Iodine Product
This is our most popular iodine product. We supply iodine in 100g containers, with discounts available on bulk orders. This product is sold with 99.8% w/w purity levels and minimum levels of impurities. Further information can be found in the Sales Product Specification.
Iodine and the Napoleonic wars
This element was discovered in 1811 by French chemist Bernard Courtois. His family was involved in the manufacture of saltpetre, which was vital during the Napoleonic wars for the production of gunpowder.
In France, the process required the addition of sodium carbonate, typically extracted from seaweed from Normandy and Brittany. During the final step to isolate sodium carbonate, seaweed was burned, washed in water and then thoroughly destroyed by the addition to sulphuric acid.
A Strange Purple Smoke
It was during this reaction that Courtois once added too much sulphuric acid and saw a cloud of purple smoke rising from the ashes. He also noted that this vapour could crystallise, forming dark crystals. He suspected this was a new element, but unable to pursue it further, sent some samples to several chemists, including Charles Desormes and Nicolas Clement.
The pair wrongly described the properties of this new compound in 1813, but only a few months later Joseph Gay-Lussac set the record right by suggesting it was an element, which he named iode (from the Greek word “iodes,” meaning violet).
English chemist Humphry Davy also managed to get some samples and noted its similarity to chlorine. Both Davy and Gay-Lussac argued about who was the first to identify the new element but always acknowledged Courtois as the first scientist to isolate it.
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