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Determining potassium nitrates

solubility through a solubility curve

and determining which solutes
dissolve in hexane and water.

Experiment #1
Chemistry 1552/M,T,TH
June 1, 2015

By: Christian Triand

Lab Partner: Keila Hamed-Ramos

Lab Instructor: Richard Jarman

Concept of experiment:
This experiment is split into parts. The first part involves testing which solutes
dissolve in water and then in hexane. The second part of the experiment tests at
which temperature a given amount of KNO3 in 100g of water will dissolve.
For the first part of the experiment, students are expected to test known rules
such as the like dissolves like rule, which states that polar solvents are best at
dissolving polar compounds (and similarly with non-polar solvents). The pre-lab (see
annexed sheets) should determine what type of compounds the solutes being used
in this lab are identified as. Given these determinations, students are to test the
solubility in water (polar) and hexane (non-polar).
For the second part of the experiment, students will determine the
solubility of potassium nitrate at a given temperature. The purpose of this is to plot
a solubility curve for potassium nitrate. This is to ultimately see how temperature
affects solubility. While some substances dissolve better at higher temperatures vs.
lower temperatures, students in this lab may find that lower amounts of KNO3 will
take longer to dissolve than groups assigned larger masses.

Brief Experimental Method:

For part one, students should arrange enough test tubes to test all the
solutes in both water and hexane (One partner can do hexane and the other do
water). The test tubes should have about 5ml of either water or hexane. Add a small

amount of solute to a single test tube, shake, and observe results. Do this with all of
the solutes.
For part two, students will be assigned a mass of KNO3. The KNO3 will be
placed in a test tube filled with 10mL of water which is then placed in a hot bath.
The solution should be stirred until the KNO3 dissolves. Once dissolved, the tube
should be removed and the temperature should be taken until the precipitate
appears again. This temperature should be recorded and the trial should be

For the raw data of the first part of the experiment (including observations),
please see the annexed papers.
The results of the second experiment shows that as the amount of KNO3 in
100g of water was increased, the temperature required to see the precipitate first
appear gradually decreases. This is seen best in the ideal solubility curve in the

ideal graph below, while the graph of collected data somewhat mimics this result.

Ideal Solubility Curve of KNO3


Temperature (*C)





Grams KNO3 in 100g Water



Solubility Curve of KNO3 (Class Values)


Temperature (*C)












Grams KNO3 in 100g Water

In order to determine the solubility of KNO3 in solute in grams/100g Water,
the following calculations were used:

When given a mass of 5g of KNO3, this was determined in 20ml of water.

In water, 1ml converts to 1g, changing 20mL to 20g of water.
To get the 20g of water to 100g of water, multiply by 5.
5gKNO3/20g of water turns into 25gKNO3/100g of water.
These calculations are used for all the data points.

For part one, since the amount of water and hexane is about 5mL and a
small amount of solute is to be used, for some experiments the solute might not
dissolve all the way. However, the solute is clearly dissolving. This is because the
solution may be supersaturated. However, this is still a sign that the solute is

Post-Lab Questions:
1. Why did the substances in part 1 dissolve in either water or hexane based on
their inter-particular forces (ion-dipole, London dispersion etc)? Were these

results consistent with the pre-lab?

The substances dissolved just as written in the pre-lab. This is because, just
like the like dissolves like rule states, polar dissolves polar and nonpolar
dissolves nonpolar. In every instance that a solute was written as polar in the

prelab, that substance was dissolved in water.

2. Which inter-particular forces are strong and weak (comparatively)? Explain.
- Polar molecules have stronger intermolecular forces than nonpolar molecules.
The exception is when the nonpolar molecule is very large. If a molecule can
hydrogen bond, then they will attract the strongest. All molecules are
attracted to each other due to London dispersion forces. However, the above
descriptions explain which forces are stronger than other forces. Ultimately,
the largest forces come from molecules with large surface areas. Polar
molecules not only have London dispersion force, but also dipole-dipole
forces. This is why theyre stronger than nonpolar molecules (which only have
London dispersion forces). Hydrogen bonding is the strongest (as mentioned
above) because its like the strongest form of dipole-dipole attraction
combined with London dispersion forces.
3. Discuss how the strength of inter-particular forces affects various properties

(melting point, boiling point, vapor pressure) of the substances studied.

The stronger the intermolecular forces, the more energy thats needed to
overcome the given force. This means that these forces would have a higher
boiling point. The stronger the intermolecular force, the higher the melting
point as well. Vapor pressure, however, will be highest when intermolecular

forces are the weakest. This is because if intermolecular forces are strong,
then liquid molecules will not turn into vapor molecules easily, thus creating a
larger boiling point.
4. Based on the class data for part 2, does the solubility of KNO3 increase or

decrease with increasing temperature? Why might this be?

It increases, but less pronounced over time. This is because the increase in
temperature also increases the total energy in the system. With more energy
being put in, more potassium nitrate becomes dissociated in water, and this

increases the solubility overall.

5. Was your individual data point for KNO3 solubility consistent with the class
data? What types of experimental errors were possible in this quantitative
data? How could this be improved?

Our individual data point was consistent with the class data. Our group was
expected to have a point of between 30-40 degrees Celsius, and our average
was 30.14 degrees Celsius. The error analysis was left blank because under
proper execution this experiment shouldnt hold much room for experimental
error. Some errors that could occur, as explained in the lab manual, are if the
solution is cooled too quickly (if an ice bath is used to cool the solution) then
precipitate may form very quickly making it difficult to tell what temperature
the precipitate formed. Other possibilities might include any debris left on the
thermometer that could cause a false precipitate to appear. This could be
improved by allotting more time for the solution to cool naturally and
checking to see if there are any contaminants in the test tube or on the