Analysis of Croconic Acid Oxidation via X-ray Diffraction
Mentor:Timothy Usher, Professor, California State University, San Bernardino
Croconic acid is an organic ferroelectric material that has been reported to break down when exposed to air and light in solution. The goal of our experiment was to figure out exactly what crystalline croconic acid breaks down into utilizing x-ray diffraction. X-ray diffraction is a way of searching within the structures of the crystals by using Bragg’s law. A ferroelectric material is a material that can remember electric fields that have been applied to it. Historically, ferroelectrics have been toxic ceramic materials, such as PZT (Lead zirconate titanate)— however, after many years of using inorganic compounds for ferroelectrics; new organic ferroelectrics have been found, with croconic acid being one of the first discovered. Croconic acid becomes unstable when in contact with oxygen and light, this ferroelectric material has been claimed to break down when exposed to either of these. A recent article reports that croconic acid in solution breaks down into oxalic acid in air and light, via oxidation, our results determine the chemical stability of croconic acid in crystalline form. We have concluded that croconic acid does decompose the reason being that, when exposed to air and light for two days we obtained new x-ray diffraction peaks at (2θ) 36 degrees and 38 degrees. These correspond to peaks in crystalline oxalic acid.