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Observing Reactions Using Deductive Chemical Reasoning to Find Two Unknown Household

Jessica Gerow

Great Lakes Bay Early College

October 15, 2015

By recognizing trends between the reactions of four household chemicals and five reagents, one
should be able to determine the identity of two unknown solutions. Once diluted each household

chemical used was Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner (HCl), Baking Soda (NaHCO3), Clorox Bleach
(NaClO), and Vanish Crystals Toilet Bowl Cleaner (NaHSO4). In a well reaction plate the
reagents were added in the order of Blue Food coloring, 0.1M AgNO3 Silver Nitrate, 0.1%
Thymol Blue, 1.0M CCl2 Calcium Chloride, 6M HCl and Hydrochloric Acid. The process was
repeated with two unknown household chemicals. By using deductive chemical reasoning, the
results indicated that the 1st unknown substance was Baking Soda, and the second unknown was

The purpose of the experiment is find trends in the reactions of household chemicals and
reagents to have a better understanding of deductive chemical reasoning. Once similarities have
been concluded the unknown solutions can be identified.
Materials and Methods

In 13X100mm test tubes gather 2-3mL of Clorox bleach, 0.5mL of Lysol toilet bowl
cleaner, and 0.5g of baking soda. In a 30mL beaker obtain 0.5g of Vanish crystal bowl cleaner.
To properly dilute the household chemicals, add 8mL of deionized water each to Lysol, baking
soda, and Vanish. Cover solution with plastic cap and shake vigorously. Stir Vanish with a glass
stirring rod until solid particles are dissolved.
Obtain 3ml each of the five reagents in 13X100mL test tubes, the chemicals needed are
blue food coloring, 0.1M AgN03 Silver Nitrate, 0.1% Thymol Blue, 1.0 MCCl2 Calcium
Chloride, and 6M HCl Hydrochloric Acid. In a 24 well reaction plate, form 4 columns with five
wells each. Fill each well in one column 2-3mm in depth with Clorox, do the same with the
remaining household chemicals. Designate one row for each reagent so they cross over with
every household chemical. One at a time add the reagents, using about 3 drops. This process
should be done under the fume hood when mixing hydrochloric acid and clorox. Record any
immediate reactions, and observe 10 minutes later for changes.
Clean the 24 well reaction plate and gather 2-3mL of the two unknown solutions, each
will already be properly diluted. Repeat the reagent process for the two unknown chemicals,
recording observations again and making note of trends similar to the first set of reactions. Using
the observations from both sets of solutions, the two unknowns should have consistent
similarities with a specific household chemical.
Household Chemicals


Control: The reagents used to cause the reactions

Experimental: Household chemicals and two unknown solutions
Lysol was nonreactive with most of the reagents, Unknown solution #2 showed most of
the same tendencies. Unknown #2 also produced the evolution of gas in the presence of AgNo3,
when Lysol did not. Baking soda formed white precipitates with both 0.1M AgNO3 and 1.0M
CCl2, which was was also seen in Unknown #1. Baking soda when mixed with Thymol Blue
turned dark green, while unknown #1 became a dark blue.Three of the four household chemicals
formed precipitates when mixed with 1.0M CCl2. Clorox turned blue when food coloring was

added, but 6 minutes late the solution was clear with no signs of previous coloring. Clorox
produced much gas for long periods of time (up to 15 seconds).
The trends in the reactions indicate the unknown solution #1 is baking soda and unknown
solution #2 is lysol. Any differences in the first set of reactions and second, such as the Thymol
Blue color difference, would be based on how the chemicals were diluted. Since the unknown
solutions were previously diluted, the concentration levels may differ. Clorox proved to be a very
reactive substance due to its repetitive evolution of gas, there was much energy being expelled.