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This experiment is conducted to study the absorption of solute from the gas phase into
the liquid phase using CO2 as solute and NaOH as the solvent. Through the experiment, the
absorption of CO2 into NaOH using a packed column was demonstrated, the rate of
absorption of CO2 from air into NaOH was calculated, the saturation composition of CO2 in
NaOH was determined and the effect of gas flow rate, gas inlet composition and liquid flow
rate on the rate of CO2 absorption was studied.

The method used in this experiment to analyze the rate of absorption experiment is by
measuring the volume of NaOH titrated to neutralize the CO2 solution to calculate the
concentration of CO2. The sample CO2 solution is obtained every ten minutes and titrated
with NaOH until constant readings were obtained. It is given that the concentration of NaOH
used is 0.1M. Before titrating, few drops of phenolphthalein is added as an indicator. At
certain point during the titration, the colour of the solution will turn faint pink showing that
the titrated solution has become neutral.

Before that, the sample solution obtained from the packed column is mixed with CaCl2
solution and filtered to obtain CaCO3 precipitate. The precipitate is washed from filter paper
using HCl where pure H2CO3 forms when carbon dioxide is dissolved in excess water.
H2CO3 is a slightly acidic compound. Also, when carbon dioxide is dissolved in excess
sodium hydroxide solution it will form a colorless solution which will be sodium carbonate,
Na2CO3. These reactions are shown in the chemical equations below.

CO2 + H2O  H2CO3

2CO2 + 4NaOH  2Na2CO3 + 2H2O

The equation, M1V1=M2V2 is used to determine the concentration of CO2 per 100mL of
sample. By using the values calculated, the graph of concentration of the CO2 against time
was plotted. From the graph above, the concentration of CO2, M2 decreases with time from
the 10th minute to the 20th minute which shows that the relationship between M2 and time is
inversely proportional. Anyhow, after the 20th minute the concentration of CO2 increases with
time until the 50th minute. This means that the M2 is directly proportional with time at this
time range. This shows that the concentration of carbon dioxide will be different at each time
collected based on the amount of carbon dioxide dissolved in NaOH.
The error in this experiment is due to the problems encountered while conducting the
experiment that affected the result causing it to not be precise to the correct value such as
inaccuracy while taking the readings and the shade of pink that may have not be observed
correctly. However, all the main objectives of this experiment are achieved.


In this experiment, there were some errors that have been detected which caused
unwanted inaccuracies in the results obtained. For instance, the eye of the reader may have
not been perpendicular to the scale of the burette while filling it up with sodium hydroxide
solution. This will lead to the difference in the actual volume of the sodium hydroxide used
and the volume of the sodium hydroxide recorded and used for calculations causing obtained
CO2 concentration value to be imprecise. Also, there may have been slight delay while
collecting the CO2 solution sample and not exactly at every 10 minutes intervals. The use of
phenolphthalein indicator is less accurate because it does not give a very accurate reading as
the pink intensity varies each time the samples reach its neutral state. Thus, a reference colour
intensity should have been used to compare. The packed column should be cleaned each time
after being used as there are lots of tubes within which might trap substances causing the
efficiency of the absorption column to be affected. In order to obtain more accurate results,
the experiment should be repeated multiple times. In addition, the apparatus that will be used
should be clean and dry. Finally, when collecting the samples from the absorption column,
the samples were exposed to the environmental air which contains CO2 gas. This
environmental CO2 gas may be absorbed into the samples before the titration process and can
falsify the results obtained. Those were the problems encountered while conducting the
experiment that may have affected the end result causing it to be flawed and not precise to the
correct value.

1. Boundless. (2016). Acid-Base Titrations. Boundless Chemistry – Aqueous

2. Miller, G.T. (2009). Carbon Dioxide. Library,
3. Olutoye, M.A. and Eterigho, E.J. Modelling of a Gas Absorption Column for CO2-
NaOH System under Unsteady-State Regime. (Retrieved on July 4, 2016), from