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Formulas and Moles


Solubility is a term which describes whether a substance will dissolve in a certain liquid or not. Sometimes,
solids are dissolved in liquids so that they can then be mixed together to cause a chemical reaction Among the
various kinds of reactions that can occur, we will be specifically interested in an exchange reaction. An exchange
reaction almost always proceeds in an aqueous solution, that is, a solution that has the reactants dissolved in water.
As the name implies, an exchange reaction is one in which the ionic “partners” in a compound switch with one
another. Such a reaction looks like this:
AB + XY ! AY + XB
Sometimes an exchange reaction of this type is called a double displacement reaction because both
partners switch places with each other: For example, look at the following reaction;
Pb(NO3)2 + 2KI ! PbI2 + 2KNO3
A double displacement reaction can sometimes produce a new compound that is not soluble in the water
solution that the reaction is taking place in. In this case, lead iodide (PbI2) is insoluble and it is the precipitate that
forms. In this experiment you will test the ability of ionic compounds to dissociate in solution and form new
(possibly insoluble) compounds with other ions present in solution.

The students will
1. explore the solubility of various ionic compounds
2. relate their observations to accepted solubility rules

Prelab Questions
1. In your own words, define the following:





2. Ionic substances dissociate into their ions in solution. The equation can be represented below.
CaCl 2 ! Ca 2 + + 2Cl -
Write the dissociation equations for the following ionic substances.




3. What are the two new compounds formed from combining each of the following?

(NH4)2S + CaCl2 !

NaOH + Co(NO3)2 !

NaOH + NH4NO3 !

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Formulas and Moles
" Wear eye protection at all times during this experiment.
" If you get any of the chemicals on you, wash it off with soap and water.

Procedure and Observations

1. Using the bottles of prepared solutions, fill the top row of your well plate with the following nitrate salt
solutions. Use just enough to fill each well to the top. (1) NaNO3, (2) Ba(NO3)2, (3) Pb(NO3)2, (4)
Co(NO3)2, (5) Ni(NO3)2 and (6) NH4NO3. Look at the first row of the data table below to help you keep track
of this. Note: Look at your well plate and find the numbering on it.

2. Divide the sodium nitrate solution evenly between the 4 wells in the same column. Repeat for the other 5 salts.

3. The salts NaCl, Na2SO4, Na3PO4 and NaOH are already dissolved in separate containers.

4. In your data table, notice the 1st row is NaCl. Using the pipet attached to the NaCl bottle, squirt a small amount
of NaCl solution in every well of the first row. Watch for a precipitate to form (some may not show a
reaction!), and mark in your data table what you see.

5. Repeat step 4, this time adding the Na2SO4 solution to the 2nd row of wells.
6. Repeat step 4, this time adding the Na3PO4 solution to the 3rd row of wells.
7. Repeat step 4, this time adding the NaOH solution to the 4th row of wells.

Data Table
Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4 Column 5 Column 6

NaNO3 Ba(NO3)2 Pb(NO3)2 Co(NO3)2 Ni(NO3)2 NH4NO3

Row 1

Row 2

Row 3

Row 4


Postlab Questions
1. Are all the compounds (or salts) used in this lab soluble? Are there any that are insoluble? How do you know?

2. Write balanced dissociation equations for the compounds used in this lab.

NaNO3 ! _________ + __________ NaCl ! _________ + __________

Ba(NO3)2 ! _________ + __________ Na2SO4 ! _________ + __________

Pb(NO3)2 ! _________ + __________ Na3PO4 ! _________ + __________

Co(NO3)2 ! _________ + __________ NaOH ! _________ + __________

Ni(NO3)2 ! _________ + __________ NH4NO3 ! _________ + __________

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Formulas and Moles
3. Write an equation showing the two new salts that can form when the solutions are mixed for each well in the
first row. Example: mix KNO3 and NaCl solutions: KNO3 + NaCl ! KCl + NaNO3

4. When the two new salts are formed in every well, one is always a nitrate salt. How do you know the new
nitrate salts are soluble?

5. For the wells that produced a precipitate, identify the compound in the equation that must be the precipitate and
write it below. (Note; you will have as many answers as you have precipitates.)

6. Write a general rule of thumb for the solubility of chloride salts based on your observations from this lab.

7. Compare your solubility rules with those published in your textbook.

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