anhydrous adj : without water; especially without water of crystallization [ant: hydrous]
- Italian: anidro
As a general term, a substance is said to be anhydrous if it contains no water. The way of achieving the anhydrous form differs from one substance to another.
SolventsIn many cases, the presence of water can prevent a reaction from happening, or form undesirable products. To prevent this, anhydrous solvents must be used when performing certain reactions. Examples of reactions requiring the use of anhydrous solvents are the Grignard reaction and the Wurtz reaction.
Solvents are commonly rendered anhydrous by boiling them in the presence of a hygroscopic substance; metallic sodium is one of the most common metals used. Other methods include the addition of molecular sieves or alkali bases such as potassium hydroxide or barium oxide. Column solvent purification devices (generally referred to as Grubb's columns) recently became available, reducing the hazards (water reactive substances, heat) from the classical dehydrating methods.
Ionic crystalsAn example of anhydration can be seen in copper(II) sulfate. If the water of crystallization is removed from blue crystals of copper (II) sulfate, a white powder (anhydrous copper(II) sulfate) is formed.
The formula for anhydration of pentahydrate copper (II) sulfate (CuSO4·5H2O) is as follows:
CuSO4·5H2O + heat → CuSO4 + 5H2O
Another example is in the heating of magnesium sulfate heptahydrate, MgSO4·7H2O. On heating, it undergoes the following reaction:
MgSO4·7H2O + heat → MgSO4 + 7H2O
GasesSeveral substances that exist as gases at standard conditions of temperature and pressure are commonly used as concentrated aqueous solutions. To clarify that it is the gaseous form that is being referred to, the term anhydrous is prefixed to the name of the substance:
anhydrous in French: Anhydre
anhydrous in Portuguese: Anidro
anhydrous in Vietnamese: Khan (hóa học)