Tartaric Acid Formula

What is the Chemical Formula of Tartaric Acid?

Tartaric acid is a naturally occurring organic acid. It is usually obtained naturally from fruits, typically from grapes and also from bananas, tamarinds and citrus fruits. It is an alpha-hydroxy-carboxylic acid. Hence, the Tartaric acid formula, which is the chemical formula of tartaric acid, can be given as C4H6O6. The molecular weight of tartaric acid can be determined from the Tartaric acid formula, which is 150.087 g/mol. The linear structural formula of Tartaric acid is HOOCCH(OH)CH(OH)COOH. Hence, the scientific chemical name of Tartaric acid or Tartaric acid IUPAC name is 2,3 - Dihydroxybutanedioic acid. Other than the preferred Tartaric acid IUPAC name, some different names by which tartaric acid is also recognised include Threaric acid, Racemic acid, 2,3-Dihydroxy Succinic acid, Uvic acid, Winestone, etc. 


Properties of Tartaric Acid

From the given molecular formula of tartaric acid and the linear tartaric acid formula structure, the spatial configuration of the chemical compound is given as follows:

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Some of the Physical Properties of Tartaric Acid that can be Depicted are:

  • It is a white crystalline organic acid. It is obtained as a derivative of succinic acid.

  • It is an aldaric acid which means that it is a sugar acid-containing hydroxyl and carboxylic groups at the terminal ends. 

  • From the molecular formula of tartaric acid and structural formula of tartaric acid it can be understood that tartaric acid is diprotic in nature i.e. it can donate two protons from the hydroxyl groups of the two carboxylic acids at the two ends of the molecule. 

  • Some of the properties that cannot be understood from the chemical formula of tartaric acid include the chemical chirality of the molecule. It played an important role in the discovery of the chemical chirality concept. It is obtained as a racemic mixture of dextro or levorotatory acid. 

  • Tartaric acid is also present in a meso isomeric form. In this form, the lower half of the molecule is mirror-symmetric to the other half. Due to this, the mirror plane passes through the centre and thus it is an optically inactive molecule. 

  • Along with being chiral, tartaric acid is also able to rotate polarised light. It was this quality that helped in the discovery of chemical chirality. 

  • It is used as a sweetener in wines. Known for chemically lowering the pH of the fermentation. 

Some of the Common Uses of Tartaric Acid are as Follows:

  • One of the most common uses of tartaric acid is as a sweetener in wine. It is easily identified on the wine as “wine diamonds” and is present as crystals on the cork or the bottom of the bottle. 

  • Tartaric acids are also used in superconductors. They seem to increase the critical temperature of the superconductors supposedly by the raising of the oxidation grade. The precise and clear mechanism is not yet known. 

  • Its varied applications also include its use in the field of pharmaceuticals. An example of this is the use of tartaric acid for producing effervescent salts which when combined with citric acid are used to make the taste of oral medicines better. 

  • In Industrial applications, it is mainly used for the purpose of chelating metal ions such as calcium and magnesium. Hence, it is used as a chelating agent not only in metal industries but also in making soil fertilizers and for cleaning certain metal surfaces like aluminium, copper, etc. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Tartaric Acid Used for?

Ans: Tartaric acid is known for its use as a wine sweetener. It is very often used for aiding in grape and lime flavoured beverages, gelatins, desserts, jams, jellies and hard sour confectioneries. The acidic monopotassium salts that are more commonly known as the ‘cream of tartar’, are the ones that are used in the baking powders and the leaving systems.

2. Is Tartaric Acid Toxic?

Ans: No toxic effects are known such as tartaric acid. No toxicity to the nephrons, no indication for the genotoxic potential of tartaric acid and any of the sodium and potassium salts. Most of the tests for the toxicity involved the naturally produced and available L-(+)-tartaric acid form which is commonly found in citrus fruits and occurs mainly in grapes.