Since the emergence of iron dendrites in the Electrochemical Glass (1997 – present) and through observing the reactions in recent works (V1 – V5 series, 2022), iron appears to be an interesting and significant if relatively slow reactive element.

Aluminium and copper react quickly (over days) producing copper dendrites which then dissolve into beautiful blue compounds, whereas over many weeks, iron slowly turns orange, brown and black producing strange forms which stir the imagination into seeing faces, animals trees and bushes.

The challenge is to enhance the iron reactions and research has led me to investigate whether a chemical process known as chelation might promote the process.

“Chelation is a type of bonding of ions and molecules to metal ions. It involves the formation or presence of two or more separate coordinate bonds between a polydentate (multiple bonded) ligand and a single central metal atom.” (Wikipedia)

As a first experiment I have chosen to test the readily available chelated compound EDTA iron which is used as an iron supplement in fertilisers bring readily soluble in water.

EDTA stands for Ethylenediaminetetraacetic and represents an interesting branch of chemistry involving ‘ligands’, an amalgamation of inorganic and organic chemistry where organic structures bond with inorganic elements such as iron.

V5 reaction 29/05/2022
V5 reaction 04/07/2022

The second image shows the immediate effects a few days after adding EDTA iron solution to the V5 reaction.

Orange (iron) compounds are forming over the underlying aluminium ‘hill’ and within it, indicating the beginning of a new set of reactions.

It will be interesting to see how this work now develops!