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Piyush Dahiya

Chemistry HL
Page
Lab: Comparative study of chemical composition of rainwater in Mexico
Date: 06/10/14

ABSTRACT:
A comparative study of precipitation chemistry of 3 different unknown zones was undertaken.
The samples of the three rainwaters collected labelled A, B and C were tested for the presence of
different chemicals through different tests conducted. The results obtained were then compared
to statistics of chemical composition for precipitate from different parts of Mexico and were
identified to which state/city they were most likely from based on our results of our tests
conducted. The results were as follows: COmpleete AFTER RESULTS!!!

INTRODUCTION:
We were presented with 3 identical samples of rainwater collected from different unknown parts
of Mexico to be identified using chemical tests within our means. Hence, to compare the data
with certified statistics and identify the possible locations from where the samples may have
been collected. This experiment was conducted to enhance our learning of water pollution and
the pollutants found in nature and their chemical effect on rain water and the environment. This
experiment was also designed to create a deeper understanding of acid rain. It also provides an
insight towards appreciation of nature. As chemists, we conducted different chemical qualitative
and quantitative tests of various natures in order to analyze the different chemical components
(pollutants) found in rainwater. These included tests for presence of nitrite ions and sulfate ions
which are the main chemicals present in acid rain. The acidity and alkalinity of the samples was
also measured.

THEORY:
Rainwater is a natural process in nature. Ideally rainwater is considered pure (relating to the
absence of pollutants in this case) but due to increasing pollution and other aspects rainwater has
been increasingly found to be present with undesirable chemical compounds which are also
harmful to nature. Acid Rain is becoming a common phenomenon due to increased pollution by
industries, cars, etc. Different geographical regions have different composition of chemical
components found in rainwater.

MATERIALS:
3 samples of rainwater collected from different unknown places in Mexico
Aluminum

Piyush Dahiya
Chemistry HL
Page
Lab: Comparative study of chemical composition of rainwater in Mexico
Date: 06/10/14

1 mol solution of Sodium Hydroxide


Litmus Paper provided by school.
1 mol solution on Nitric Acid
1 mol solution of Barium Chloride
Bromothymol Blue indicator

Instrumentation:
Burette 50ml; Uncertainty: 0.05ml = 0.1%
Volumetric Flask of 250ml; Uncertainty: 0.1ml = 0.04%
Volumetric Pipette 5ml; Uncertainty: 0.01ml = 0.2%
Electronic Mass Balance: +/- 0.001g
Measuring cylinder 25ml: Uncertainty: +/- 0.1ml

Procedure:
We carried out many different experiment on the rainwater samples from unknown origins
labelled A, B, and C. The pH was identified using a pH meter. Test for nitrate ions was
conducting by adding sodium hydroxide (aq) and an aluminum foil piece to our sample and
heating it. Test for presence of sulfate was conducted by adding nitric acid and Barium Chloride
to our water sample.

pH Test:
This was conducted using a pH meter. First the electrode was cleaned with distilled water. Then
it was placed in our samples of rainwater labelled A, B and C and the pH level was recorded. The
electrode was rinsed and cleaned with distilled water after every sample.

Test for Nitrate Ions (in solution):


3 identical pieces of aluminum were taken each weighing 1.50g. 2cm3 of the water samples were
taken using a volumetric pipette and put into test tubes labelled A, B and C corresponding to the
sample labels. 2cm3 of NaOH (1 mol) was added to the test tubes containing the water samples.
Then the pieces of aluminum foil were added. The test tubes were held using a test tube holder
and their temperature was raised by waving them over a Bunsen burner till visible bubbles

Piyush Dahiya
Chemistry HL
Page
Lab: Comparative study of chemical composition of rainwater in Mexico
Date: 06/10/14

(effervescence) was detected. Then a damp piece of litmus paper was held at the mouth of the
test tubes as the gas was evolved. The change in litmus paper, smell coming from the reaction
and visible observations were recorded for each sample.

Test for Sulfate ions (in solution):


2cm3 of each sample was transferred to 3 different test tubes labelled A, B, and C corresponding
to the labels of the samples. Then 2 drops of Nitric Acid (1 mol) were added to each test tube to
acidify the solution. The 2 cm3 of Barium Chloride (1 mol) was measured using a volumetric
pipette and added to each test tube. The qualitative observations were made including changes in
visible appearance, smells and color changes, formations of precipitates.

Test for Chloride ions in solution:


2cm3 of each sample was transferred to 3 different test tubes labelled A, B, and C corresponding
to the labels of the samples. Then 2 drops of Nitric Acid (1 mol) were added to each test tube to
acidify the solution. Then 2cm3 of silver nitrate (1 mol) was added to each test tube. Observations
were made, for the smell, visible changes, formation of precipitates.

Titrations:
A measured amount of sample A, B or C was placed in a volumetric flask using a measuring
cylinder. Then the burette was rinsed with distilled water and checked for impurities. Then it was
filled up to the mark with 1 mol solution of Sodium Hydroxide. A few measured drops of each
indicator were added to the different samples. Then the sodium hydroxide was slowly added to
the volumetric flask containing the sample. The sample was observed for change in color and
when the desired result was reached the sodium hydroxide was stopped being added and the
amount of it used was measured.

Data Analysis:
Test for Nitrate Ions:
Following qualitative results were obtained
Litmus
Color

Smell:

Effervescence
:

Color
Changes
:

Piyush Dahiya
Chemistry HL
Page
Lab: Comparative study of chemical composition of rainwater in Mexico
Date: 06/10/14

For A:

Litmus
turned
blue.

For B:

Litmus
turned
blue on
edges.
Slightly.
Negligibl
e turning
of litmus
to a blue
color.

For C:

Pungent
smell;
ammonia
.
A very
subtle
smell.

Present upon
heating

Turned
graying
black.

Present upon
heating

Turned
light
gray.

No smell
recorded.

Present upon
heating

Turned
very less
gray,
slight
shade of
gray.

This was a test to check for the presence of ammonia. It can be concluded from the results
that there was ammonia produced for sample A, which confirmed the presence of Nitrate
ions. In cases of samples B and C, there were negligible amount of nitrate ions present.

Test for Sulfate ions:


Following qualitative results were obtained:
For A:

Color:
Slightly
cloudy

For B:

White

For C:

Milky
White.

Precipitate:
Very less
(negligible)
precipitate.
Pure white
precipitate
formed.
Slightly
milky

Smell:
Subtle
smell.
Subtle
smell with
a tinge of
chlorine.
Subtle
negligible

Piyush Dahiya
Chemistry HL
Page
Lab: Comparative study of chemical composition of rainwater in Mexico
Date: 06/10/14

whitish
precipitate
formed.
(Negligible)
.

smell.

From the following data it can be observed that there is a considerable amount of sulphate
ions present in sample B. Although in sample A and C, presence of sulphate ions was
negligible, very slight.