In 1775 he investigated arsenic acid and its reactions, discovering arseniuretted hydrogen and "Scheele's green" (copper arsenite), a process for preparing which on a large scale he published in 1778.
(b) Fleitmann's test and Marsh's test depend on the fact that arsenic and its compounds, when present in a solution in which hydrogen is being generated, are converted into arseniuretted hydrogen, which can be readily detected either by its action on silver nitrate solution or by its decomposition on heating.
A piece of bibulous paper, moistened with silver nitrate, is held over the mouth of the tube, and if arsenic be present, a grey or black deposit is seen on the paper, due to the silver nitrate being reduced by the arseniuretted hydrogen.
The arseniuretted hydrogen produced is passed through a tube containing lead acetate paper and soda-lime, and finally through a narrow glass tube, constricted at various points, and heated by a very small flame.
As the arseniuretted hydrogen passes over the heated portion it is decomposed and a black deposit formed.
Arsenic trihydride (arsine or arseniuretted hydrogen), AsH3, is formed by decomposing zinc arsenide with dilute sulphuric acid; by the action of nascent hydrogen on arsenious compounds, and by the electrolysis of solutions of arsenious and arsenic acids; it is also a product of the action of organic matter on many arsenic compounds.
Zinc, tin and cadmium) with precipitation of arsenic and formation of arseniuretted hydrogen.