Liebig promoted his doctrine of polybasic acids.
A polybasic acid contains more than one atom of hydrogen which is replaceable by metals; moreover, in such an acid the replacement may be entire with the formation of normal salts, partial with the formation of acid salts, or by two or more different metals with the formation of compound salts (see Salts).
ESTERS, in organic chemistry, compounds formed by the condensation of an alcohol and an acid, with elimination of water; they may also be considered as derivatives of alcohols, in which the hydroxylic hydrogen has been replaced by an acid radical, or as acids in which the hydrogen of the carboxyl group has been replaced by an alkyl or aryl group. In the case of the polybasic acids, all the hydrogen atoms can be replaced in this way, and the compounds formed are known as "neutral esters."
With regard to Graham's more purely chemical work, in 1833 he showed that phosphoric anhydride and water form three distinct acids, and he thus established the existence of polybasic acids, in each of which one or more equivalents of hydrogen are replaceable by certain metals (see Acid).