Scheele's green

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Description

A highly poisonous green pigment composed of copper arsenite. Scheele's green was discovered in Sweden in 1775 by Carl W. Scheele, a German chemist, but he did not publish the recipe until 1778. It is a bright, warm yellowish-green with good opacity. Scheele's green was never widely used as a paint pigment because it was toxic and discolored in the presence of acid or sulfur fumes. Currently, copper arsenite is used as a rodenticide, insecticide, fungicide, and wood preservative.

Synonyms and Related Terms

copper arsenite; cupric arsenite; Pigment Green 22; CI 77412; mineral green; ash green; vert de Scheele (Fr.); Scheelesgrün (Deut.); verde di Scheele (It.)

Raman

ScheelesUCL.jpg


Other Properties

Soluble in mineral acids. Insoluble in water.

Decomposes in alkalis. Darkens in the presence of sulfur or lead compounds.
Composition Cu(AsO2)2
Refractive Index 1.55 - 1.75

Hazards and Safety

Extremely toxic by ingestion, inhalation and skin absorption.

Human carcinogen.

May produce toxic arsenic fumes when decomposed by fungi.

Additional Information

I.Fiedler, M Bayard, "Emerald Green and Scheele's Green", Artists Pigments, Volume 3, E. West FitzHugh (ed.), Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1997.

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • R.D. Harley, Artists' Pigments c. 1600-1835, Butterworth Scientific, London, 1982
  • R. Newman, E. Farrell, 'House Paint Pigments', Paint in America , R. Moss ed., Preservation Press, New York City, 1994
  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: 'Pigments'
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 610
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Thomas B. Brill, Light Its Interaction with Art and Antiquities, Plenum Press, New York City, 1980
  • Book and Paper Group, Paper Conservation Catalog, AIC, 1984, 1989