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Although they look like sheets of ice floating on a polar sea, these white chunks of salts and blue copper sulfate were the by-products of a reaction run by Anthony Carroll, a graduate student at the University of Wollongong. Carroll had reacted xylose with acetone, adding sulfuric acid and anhydrous copper sulfate to speed up the reaction. After the xylose and acetone formed his acetonide product, Carrol neutralized the sulfuric acid with a solution of ammonia in water and vacuum filtered the mixture. These are the leftover waste solids: The acid-base neutralization created the white salts and the copper sulfate turned blue when hydrated.
Submitted by Anthony Carroll
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