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Vinegar and its winning properties

If you have seen copper or bronze statutes or curios you may have noticed that they turn black or green in colour. Did you know that you can use vinegar to clean this?

What is Vinegar?

Vinegar is made by fermenting ethanol which produces acetic acid. The ethanol that is used in the process can be derived from wine, beer, fermented fruit juice or cider. Along with acetic acid, vinegar has amounts of tartaric acid, citric acid, and other acids. There are various kinds of vinegar including malt vinegar, wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, fruit vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, coconut vinegar, palm vinegar, cane vinegar, and raisin vinegar.

Along with acetic acid, vinegar has amounts of tartaric acid, citric acid, and other acids.

How is vinegar made?

Commercially, vinegar can be made by using either a slow or fast fermentation process. The slow fermentation process takes weeks or months. During this process a non-toxic slime called mother of Vinegar forms. This slime consists of acetic acid bacteria and soluble cellulose. The same Mother of Vinegar is used in the fast fermentation process. It is added to the liquid from which the Vinegar is to be produced. A turbine is used to oxygenate the mixture. This helps in reducing the time needed to ferment the Vinegar to anywhere between 20 hours to three days.

Cleaning Properties of Vinegar

Brass and copper loose its shine because of exposure to moist air. The exposed metal form compounds with high carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. When copper is exposed to the environment, various layers of minerals that contain oxides, sulphate, sulphides, carbonates, chlorides, and hydroxides accumulate on the metal. This discolouration is called patina. Vinegar gives those green and faded copper utensils, brass items, and chrome surfaces that long last shine. It’s an age-old remedy that involves mixing vinegar and salt and rubbing the resulting liquid over the copper surface to revive the lustre. The acetic acid present in vinegar dissolves the tarnish on these metals.

Tags :     Everyday Chemistry     Vinegar     Acetic Acid     fermenting     patina    


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