Re: Chemistry terms

Dirk -- you wrote:

>I'm really sorry, folks, but would you mind translating the following?
>>        Orthophosphate is _not_ a long chain phosphate, it is the
>usual phosphate, PO4---, HPO4--, H2PO4- or H3PO4, depending on the pH.
>At pH of interest to us, it will be almost entirely in the middle two
>forms.  Hexametaphosphate _is_ polymeric.
>>Phosphate doesnt hold ferric iron in solution. It forms complex
>oxyhydroxide colloids which eventually precipitate into the substrate.

>D****it Jim, I'm a historian, not a chemist

Don't feel bad, Dirk, I know exactly how you feel. I find this stuff *very*
interesting and want desperately to understand it but I find all the
letters and numbers and hypens (minus signs?) incomprehensible. I've been
thinking of taking a water chemistry course here at UBC or at least buying
a book.

Please, chemists out there, remember that we don't know what HPO4-- is,
nevermind a phrase like "Hexametaphosphate is polymeric" though we all wish
very much that we did. In my job I have to remember that telling a student
who has never used a computer (yes, there are some) that he has to "format"
his floppy  disk means nothing to him though it's matter-of-course for me.

chemically challenged in Vancouver