You are on page 1of 16



Report submitted in partial fulfilment of the CHEM 1L subject of Miss Denniell Hurboda (Laboratory Instructor).



ABSTRACT The common gases, oxygen and hydrogen are very abundant in the earths crust yet its mysteries as gases as a whole had eluded scientists for centuries. Its properties had only become apparent upon the scientific revolution of the techniques or methodologies with the labouring of known physicists and chemists of their time. This experiment focuses on the identification of the properties of our atmospheres common gases (oxygen and hydrogen) and its preparation in the laboratory. It utilized the experimental type in which it used laboratory equipment to answer the statements of the problem. The study used the observable results to quantify and analyse the properties of the gases presented in the equations and the tables or diagrams. Based on the results, the hypothesis was proven correct and the problem was given a final conclusion where the processes involved and the properties of the gases became clear.


Background of the Study There are different gases in the atmosphere. There is nitrogen, oxygen, argon, hydrogen, and helium which constitute most of the earths atmosphere. There are of course a lot more but they are no more than 1% of the entirety. Since the force of gravity pulls down on the masses of these gases, the heavier gases are typically found near the surface of the Earth (e.g. oxygen) while the lightest ones (e.g. hydrogen) are found in higher altitudes. Oxygen is the most abundant element in the earths crust and is the third most abundant element in the universe - one which plays a very important role in our everyday life. It makes up nearly 21% of the earth's atmosphere and accounts for nearly half of the mass of the earth's crust, two thirds of the mass of the human body and nine tenths of the mass of water. Oxygen is a highly reactive element and is capable of combining with most other elements. It is required by most living organisms and for most forms of combustion. Composed of a single proton and a single electron, hydrogen is the simplest and most abundant element in the universe but unlike oxygen, it is seldom found free in nature. It is estimated that 80% of the visible universe is composed of hydrogen. Hydrogen combines with other elements to form numerous compounds. Some of the common ones are: water (H 2O), ammonia (NH3), methane (CH4), table sugar (C12H22O11), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and hydrochloric acid (HCl).

A Brief in History The eighteenth century would be the Century of Gas Chemistry, marked by the discovery of most of the common gases. Ingenious techniques with which to generate, collect and study gases were invented at that time. Despite these substantial laboratory accomplishments, the actual chemical identities of these gases remained complete mysteries until the very end of the century.

The philosophers of classical Greece were the first to seek knowledge for its own sake. They attempted to develop a comprehensive philosophy that explained all aspects of the material world. Around 350 BC, Aristotle was emerging as one of the most brilliant scholars of the time. He was interested in a wide variety of thoughts and ideas and his influence on subsequent thought was widespread. Unfortunately for the development of chemistry as a theoretical discipline, Aristotle rejected the earlier ideas of Democritus that substances were built from small, indivisible particles called atoms, and built on the ideas of Empedocles, who felt that all matter was composed of some combination of earth, air, fire, and water. Aristotle broadened Empedocles' four elements so that earth represented the solid state, air represented the gaseous state and water represented the liquid state. Every substance consisted of primary matter, impressed with form, which was the hidden cause of the properties of the substance. The four forms were hot, dry, moist and cold and the relationship between the forms and elements is shown here:

Diagram 1 The relationship between the forms and elements of Aristotle

Thus, water (representing all liquids) was cold and moist, air was hot and moist, fire was hot and dry, and earth (representing all solids) was cold and dry. Every substance on earth was some combination of the four elements. During transformations, the primary matter was unaltered but the form was changed. Aristotle's stature among scholars was such that for twentyone centuries after his death he was still widely regarded as the ultimate authority on matters of science. Even though his theory did little to explain much of the physical world, there was no better theory and few felt they could question the ideas of Aristotle.

The Renaissance brought great advances in chemistry and the development of experimental methods and scientific thought. Some of these advances involved gases. In the 17th century Robert Boyle conducted his now famous experiments on physical properties of gases and combustion. He was outspokenly critical of Aristotle's four element theory and proposed his own. Although Boyle's theories regarding the nature of substances were vague and not very accurate (for example, he believed that fire was a particle), he was one of the most prominent experimentalists to attack Aristotle's theory of the elements. He noted that hydrogen, which he

called 'factitious air was highly flammable. It is significant and noteworthy that he was the first scientist to collect a gas in a vessel. From Aristotle to our modern scientists, the properties of the gases have been gradually unveiled. The mysterious nature of gases their invisibility, their lack of color and odor have made them subjects of fascination for generations of chemists. Equipment to study gases has ranged from simple to complex. In the eighteenth century the experiments were done by the pneumatic chemists. By the late nineteenth century, chemistry textbooks described methods for student use. The experiments called for pneumatic troughs and elaborate equipment. Experiments were time-consuming and noxious gases were generated in quantities that were often potentially dangerous. Over time, we have learned to produce and study a variety of gases, safely contained within manageable syringes or set-ups. Each gas takes no more than five minutes to generate and is immediately available for use in numerous simple experiments. From university professors to high school students, these simple methods have enhanced our understanding of gases.

Statement of the Problem The purpose of this experiment is to investigate the preparation and properties of oxygen and hydrogen. It sought to answer the following questions: i. ii. iii. iv. How is oxygen gas generated in the laboratory? Does copper react with oxygen? Is hydrogen gas formed when zinc metal reacts with hydrochloric acid solution? What are the observable characteristics of hydrogen when it is exposed to flame?


Based on the findings of the experiment, what conclusions or generalizations can be derived from the investigation?

Hypotheses If hydrogen peroxide is allowed to further react using a known catalyst, oxygen will be generated and will react to copper. If zinc metal reacts with hydrochloric acid, hydrogen gas is formed and will react with oxygen.

Significance of the Study This experiment is important because it allows an in-depth view and investigation of some of the properties of a few of the common elements that are found in our universe. Time has taught us on how theories and concepts that are not validated and are lacking scientific investigation have led to erroneous perceptions that can affect and misguide understanding and analysis. It is a story, in which the behaviour of matter eventually allowed the genius of man to first theorize the principles of modern science as we know them even to this day.


Research Design The study utilized the experimental method of research in which it used laboratory materials and equipment to answer the statements of the problem and the relationship in between variables. Research Instruments The materials and apparatus used in the experiment are as followed: syringe (2 ml); plastic micro spatula; micro burner; a box of matches; bamboo splint; glass tube (6cm x 4mm); a set of combo plate with lids for connectors; safety glasses; two pieces silicon tubes (4cm x 4mm); combo plate; box of matches; PVC tube with v-bend (5cm x 22mm); gas collecting tube with lid; large sample vial; lids for combo plate; thin propette; two (2) pieces plastic micro spatulas; 6 M HCl hydrochloric acid; 3% hydrogen peroxide H 2O2; Manganese dioxide powder MnO2, Copper wire; Zinc powder; Experimental Procedures Oxygen Part 1 Three (3) micro spatulas of manganese dioxide were added to a well to be labelled as A. 1.0 mL of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution was obtained using a calibrated syringe and a drop of the solution was added into the well labelled A. A bamboo splint was lit and placed above the

well. Observe the heat glow on the bamboo splint. The procedures were repeated this time using an empty well.

Figure 1 Oxygen gas generation

Oxygen Part 2 Three (3) micro spatulas of manganese dioxide were again added to a well to be labelled as A and a second well labelled B was filled with tap water. Insert two silicone tube connectors with both ends of the glass tube with a copper wire inside. Install the others ends of the silicone tube connectors to both the lids tube inlets, securing them into place. We obtained 1.0 mL of 3% hydrogen peroxide using the syringe. The syringe nozzle was inserted into the syringe inlet of the lid labelled B. We slowly added a drop of hydrogen peroxide and waited for bubbles to appear on well A. The micro burner was lit and the flame was brought to the position where the copper wire was placed and heated it for about five (5) minutes. Observe.

Figure 2 Complete experimental set-up Hydrogen A micro spatula of zinc powder was into a well labelled as A. A lid was fastened to well A with v-bend PVC rubber tubing inserted into the lids gas inlet. A container filled with water was prepared with the other end of the PVC tube placed in the surface of the water. A gas collecting tube was placed partially submerged enclosing the opening of the PVC rubber tubing with its opening facing the bottom of the container. We obtained hydrochloric acid using a syringe and we slowly added a drop of the solution into well A. Bubbles are first allowed to pass through before collecting hydrogen gas. When sufficient hydrogen gas was obtained, we collected it by closing the gas collecting tubes cover. A matchstick or micro burner was lit and the gas collecting tube was positioned horizontally with the opening to the flames direction. With the thumb, the lid was opened when the flame became very small with the mouth of the collection tube directed to the flame. The properties of the gas or gas in general were noted.

Figure 3 Hydrogen gas generator

Hydrogen Generation Demonstration The laboratory instructor constructed a similar set-up to the first one but it utilized zinc metal and not zinc powder. First, a cylindrical vessel containing hydrochloric acid was prepared and anchored into a wooden base to act as support for the container. Second, the zinc metal was placed in a test tube (large enough to fit into the opening of the hydrochloric acid container) with an opening at its bottom to allow acid contact with the zinc metal. A glass tube connected to the test tube facilitated the direction of the evolving hydrogen gas after the reaction between zinc and hydrochloric acid, later of which was lit for the gas to act as the fuel for the combustion process. Last was covering the flame with a beaker. Observations were noted.

CHAPTER III RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Oxygen Part 1 Bubbles were formed in the well labelled A which indicates a chemical reaction took place and a gas was released. The heat glow on the bamboo splint continued illuminating when exposed to the well with MnO 2 and H2O2. This continued to happen because of the production of oxygen gas (see Figure 3 below) which is an important component in most combustion processes. The MnO2 in this experiment is the catalyst that accelerated the evolution of oxygen gas from H2O2 that also produced water.

2H2O2 (aq)


2H2O + O2 (aq) (g)

Figure 3 The evolution of oxygen gas from hydrogen peroxide Description/s: H2O2 Clear liquid

MnO2 Dark fine-particle solid substance

H2O Clear liquid; Water

O2 Colourless, odourless, tasteless gas

Table 1 Reactant-Product Descriptions Oxygen Part 2 The heated copper wire looks darker than usual after heating the glass tube when the well with manganese dioxide was added with hydrogen peroxide. This change in colour is actually

just a coating of a new substance called CuO or rust which is the expected product of this reaction (see figure 4). Some dark particles were also observed near the reacted substance.

2Cu + O2 (s) (g)

2CuO (s)

Figure 4 The production of rust with the exposure of a metal (copper) to oxygen Description/s: Cu Brown lustrous metal

O2 Colourless, odourless, tasteless gas Table 2

CuO Flaky solid dark substance

Reactant-Product Descriptions Copper is not a very reactive metal but when it is exposed to oxygen, a very slow chemical reaction occurs. The heat here is the catalyst which speeds up the reaction by giving enough energy for the reaction to occur. Hydrogen Bubbles were observed after adding a drop of hydrochloric acid in well labelled A to the well labelled B which again is an indicator that a chemical reaction took place and a gas was released. A zinc chloride salt solution and hydrogen gas is expected to be produced given the balanced chemical equation in Figure 5 below. When the gas collected after its evolution was exposed to the flame, it suddenly popped and the flame was sustained. This indicates that the hydrogen gas reacted with the oxygen upon exposure to the flame which proves that the gas is flammable.

Zn + 2HCl (s) (aq)

ZnCl2 + H2 (aq) (g)

Figure 5 The production of hydrogen gas with the reaction of a metal (zinc) to hydrochloric acid Description/s: Zn Greyish powder

HCl Colourless liquid

ZnCl2 Clear liquid; Salt solution

H2 Colourless, odourless, tasteless gas

Table 3 Reactant-Product Descriptions Hydrogen Generation Demonstration In the hydrogen generation process, lighting the gas (hydrogen) produced a yellow (slightly orange) flame which proved it to be flammable. The fuel interacts with oxygen through combustion that sustains it while releasing heat as a by-product. The hydrogen gas is the fuel in this combustion process and its interaction with oxygen in return, produces water in the form of vapour which causes the fog when the lit evolving gas was covered with a beaker. See Figure 4

2H2 + O2 (g) (g)

2H2O (g)

Figure 4 The production of water vapour with the combustion of hydrogen with oxygen

CHAPTER IV CONCLUSIONS Oxygen gas can be created in the laboratory by liberating oxygen atoms in hydrogen peroxide with an acceleration of a known catalyst manganese dioxide to the chemically-reacting solution. Copper will react to oxygen given enough time or with the help of a catalyst such as heat. Meanwhile, hydrogen can also be created in the laboratory after the chemical reaction of zinc metal to hydrochloric acid with which was also proven to be flammable after exposure to flame. Summary of the properties of the gas produced OXYGEN -a primary component of combustion -a tasteless, odourless, colourless, and a very abundant gas -produced in considerable amounts during the oxygen generation experiment HYDROGEN -is flammable -a very light gas -produced in quick and great amounts in the generation process Table 1 The common gases


Anderson, M. P.; Mattson, B.; Mattson, S. A brief history of the study of gas chemistry (4th edition). Educational Innovations: Norwalk, Connecticut, 2006. Villanueva, J. C. 7 January 2010. Gases in the atmosphere. Retrieved from on 7 August 2013. The Element Oxygen. Retrieved from on 7 August 2013. The Element Hydrogen. Retrieved from on 7 August 2013. Early Chemistry and Gases. Retrieved from on 7 August 2013.