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Aim:

To investigate the relationship between the ease for metal carbonates to decompose and the position of the metal in reactivity series.

Theory:
When metal carbonates are heated, they may decompose to form metal oxide and carbon dioxide. The presence of carbon dioxide gas can be tested by limewater as white precipitate of calcium carbonate will form when carbon dioxide gas is added into limewater. It is suspected that the ease for metal carbonates to decompose varies with the reactivity of the metal. CuCO3(s) -------> CuO(s) + CO2(g) Ca(OH)2(aq) + CO2(g) ------> CaCO3(s) + H2O(l)

Hypothesis:
The lower the reactivity of the metal is, the easier it is for its carbonate to decompose to form metal oxide and carbon dioxide.

Variables:
Independent Variables ------ Different metals carbonates with metals of different reactivity. Dependent Variables ------ Time taken for the metal carbonate to decompose to produce metal oxide and carbon dioxide. Constant Variables ------ Amount of metal carbonate, Amount of limewater, Level of heating

Apparatus:
Pyrex glass test tube(4) delivery tube stopwatch spatula retort stand measuring cylinder clamp test tube(4) Bunsen burner

Chemicals:
copper carbonate powder calcium carbonate powder lead carbonate powder sodium carbonate powder

1.5g/dm3 calcium hydroxide solution (limewater)

Procedure:
1. Using a spatula, put 2 spatula of copper carbonate powder into a Pyrex glass test tube. 2. Using a measuring cylinder, add 10 cm3 of limewater into a test tube. 3. Using a delivery tube, a clamp, a retort stand and a Bunsen burner, set up the apparatus as shown below

4. Heat up the metal carbonate and immediately start the stopwatch. 5. Once there is bubbling and white precipitate formed in limewater, stop the stopwatch, remove the test tube containing limewater before stop heating and record the time taken for the precipitate to appear. 6. Heat for 10 minutes maximally if there is no white precipitate formed. 7. Repeat the experiment using different metal carbonates: lead carbonate, calcium carbonate and sodium carbonate. 8. State the results in a suitable table and conclude the relationship between the ease of decomposition of metal carbonates and reactivity of the metal.

Results:
Metal
copper lead calcium sodium

Reactivity
Very low low high Very high

Time/min
2.5 5.0 9.5 More than 10.0

Conclusion:

The ease for metal carbonates to decompose varies with the reactivity of the metal. The lower the reactivity of the metal is, the easier it is for its carbonate to decompose to form metal oxide and carbon dioxide.

Source of Error
It is very difficult to see the white precipitate with human eyes if it is formed in very small amount, causing the time taken recorded to be longer than actual value.