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trioxalatocobaltate iii is a commercially available form of cobalt (III). This metal has a variety of applications including its use in magnetic and high strength superalloys. It is also used as a radioactive tracer and in cancer treatment.
It is a weak acid and forms a complex with sodium hydroxide. The resulting precipitate is a variably colored yellow to green mixture containing cobalt in the +3 oxidation state.
The hexaamminecobalt(II) ions in this solution are easily oxidized by the air to form cobalt(III) ions. This is a simple reaction that involves ligand exchange reactions between water molecules and negative ions. The reaction is reversible so the hexaamminecobalt(II) complex returns to its pink color when you add water.
When hexaamminecobalt(II) is placed in an acid solution, six of the water molecules are replaced by chloride ions. This is a reaction that takes place in the test tube and is very reversible so the solution can return to its pink color.
In a similar way, when cobalt(III) is placed in an acid solution, hexaaquacobalt(III) is formed. The hexaaquacobalt(III) ion has a hydrogen ion pulled off of the water ligands that are attached to it to give the cobalt(III) ion with no hydrogen ions left on it.
Hexaaquacobalt(III) can be oxidized with ammonia as in the case of hexaamminecobalt(II). The ammonia acts as a base and a ligand to pull hydrogen ions off of the hexaaquacobalt(III) water ligands just like the hydroxide ion. This gives the same neutral complex.