These facts may be illustrated with the aid of orthophosphoric acid, which is tribasic: - Acid.
As stated under Phosphorus, phosphoric oxide, P 2 0 5, combines with water in three proportions to form H 2 O P 2 0 5 or HP03, metaphosphoric acid; 2H 2 O P 2 0 5 or H4P207, pyrophosphoric acid; and 3H 2 O P 2 0 5 or H 3 PO 4, orthophosphoric or ordinary phosphoric acid.
Orthophosphoric acid, H3P04, a tribasic acid, is obtained by boiling a solution of the pentoxide in water; by oxidizing, red phosphorus with nitric acid, or yellow phosphorus under the surface of water by bromine or iodine; and also by decomposing a mineral phosphate with sulphuric acid.
Metaphosphoric acid, HP0 3, is a monobasic acid which may be regarded as derived from orthophosphoric acid by the abstraction of one molecule of water, thus H 3 PO 4 - H 2 O = HP0 3; its constitution is therefore (HO)P0 2.
On boiling their solutions they yield orthophosphates, whilst those of the heavy metals on boiling with water give a trimetallic orthophosphate and orthophosphoric acid: 3AgP0 3 +3H 2 O=Ag 3 PO 4 +2H 3 PO 4.
Of the phosphotungstic acids the most important is phosphoduodecitungstic acid, H 3 PW, 2040 nH 2 O, obtained in quadratic pyramids by crystallizing mixed solutions of orthophosphoric and metatungstic acids.