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Eugene Hui 12.

IB Chemistry IA
Determining the Empirical Formula of a Copper(II) Chloride Hydrate
Table of Raw Data (Note that this data was not used to calculate the final empirical formula as it was inconclusive) Mass Including Crucible in grams (0.01 g)

Duration heated

1 minute 2 minutes 3 minutes 4 minutes 5 minutes 6 minutes 7 minutes 8 minutes 9 minutes 10 minutes 11 minutes 12 minutes 13 minutes

40.37 38.08 37.82 37.30 36.80 36.51 36.36 36.24 36.17 36.09 36.10 36.10 36.11

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Eugene Hui 12.5 Table of Equipment with Uncertainty Equipment Uncertainty 100 ml beaker Not given 50 ml graduated cylinder 0.5 ml 25 ml graduated cylinder 0.5 ml 10 ml graduated cylinder 0.5 ml Electronic Balance 0.005 grams Hot plate Not applicable Stopwatch 0.005 seconds Table of Qualitative Observations Stage in Experiment Weighing out 1 gram of copper chloride hydrate Heating beaker on a hot plate

Adding aluminum pellets into solution

Filtering the solution

Qualitative Observations Mass registered on electronic balance was affected by air coming from air conditioners. Light scent was emitted when copper changed color. Took longer than expected (more than six minutes) to dehydrate copper chloride hydrate Aluminum pellets were silver in the beginning Immediately started bubbling when placed in solution Change of color to rust brown over time Forming of precipitate around the beaker Slightly exothermic (beaker got warm but not hot) Solution got more dilute Aluminum pellets had a coating with a red rust color. The four pellets were engulfed by the red coating and became two large pellet-like structures. Pellets were in excess in the reaction.

Mass Measurements Throughout Experiment (Certain pieces of data were from another group who had more reliable results) Equipment Used Mass in grams (0.01 g) 100 ml beaker 48.19 Copper Chloride (CuCl2) Hydrate 1.03 Copper Chloride after heating on hot plate 0.88 4 aluminum pieces 2.66 Crucible and Lid 32.84 Mass of crucible and copper (after heating) 33.56 Final mass of copper 0.72

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Eugene Hui 12.5 Table of Processed Data (Using data from another group) Data Processing Total Uncertainty 1. Mass of H2O in Copper Chloride Hydrate Initial copper chloride uncertainty + mass after heating uncertainty= Total uncertainty Mass of H2O= Initial copper chloride hydrate mass mass after heating on hot plate 0.01g + 0.01g= 0.02 grams Mass of H2O =1.03g-0.88g= 0.15g 2. Final Mass of Copper Mass of copper= Mass of crucible and copper mass of crucible Mass of copper=33.56g-32.84g= 0.72g 3. Mass of Chlorine Mass of chlorine= Initial copper chloride hydrate mass mass of H2O mass of copper Mass of chlorine= Initial copper chloride hydrate mass mass of H2O mass of copper Mass of chlorine=1.03g-0.15g-0.72g= 0.16g 4. Calculating the Empirical Formula CuxCly ZH2O Mass: a) Mass of H2O: 0.15 grams (0.02 grams) b) Mass of copper: 0.72 grams (0.02 grams) c) Mass of chlorine: 0.16 grams (0.05 grams) Moles: 0.15 a) Moles of H2O=18/=0.008 mol b) Moles of copper=63.5/=0.011 mol c) Moles of chlorine=
0.16 =0.004 35.5/ 0.72

Mass of H2O= 0.15 grams (0.02 grams) Mass of crucible and copper uncertainty + mass of crucible uncertainty= Total uncertainty 0.01g + 0.01g = 0.02 grams Mass of copper= 0.72 grams (0.02 grams) Initial copper chloride uncertainty + mass of H2O uncertainty + mass of copper uncertainty= Total uncertainty 0.01g + 0.02g + 0.02g= 0.05 grams Mass of chlorine= 0.16 grams (0.05 grams)

Not applicable at this stage of the experiment.


Mole Ratio Calculations: 0.008 a) Moles of H2O=0.004 =2

b) Moles of copper=0.004 =2.75 (rounded to 3) c) Moles of chlorine=0.004 =1 The empirical formula is: Cu3Cl 2H2O Page 3 of 7


Eugene Hui 12.5 Conclusion: After a series of calculations, it was determined that the final empirical formula of copper chloride hydrate was Cu3Cl 2H2O. To an extent, the empirical derived from the data is accurate, but at the same time there are also major inaccuracies. First of all, copper chloride hydrate is more formally known in the scientific world as copper chloride dihydrate. (Santa Cruz Biotechnology, n.d.) The presence of the di prefix represents two molecules of water, which was corroborated by the empirical formula that was calculated. With the case of H2O, the coefficient makes logical sense. However, with regards to the empirical formula of copper chloride, it could be said that the results were less than satisfactory. First of all, copper chloride has a chemical formula of CuCl2. (Copper Chloride, 2007) But in this experiment, it was found that the empirical formula of copper chloride was Cu3Cl. Even though the mole ratio calculation of copper was rounded from 2.75 to 3 (please refer to table of processed data), this still does not explain the rationale behind such an unusual empirical formula. Despite the fact that the results were way beyond comprehensible, the methodology undertaken does make logical sense, in addition to the science itself. At the start of the experiment, copper chloride dihydrate was heated on a hot plate in order to evaporate all molecules of H2O. The difference in mass represented the mass of H2O, which was used to calculate its coefficient in the empirical formula. After dissolving the remaining copper chloride (CuCl2) in hydrochloric acid, the purpose of the aluminum pellets was to displace the copper within the solution (Copper Chloride, 2007), which is shown through this equation: 3 CuCl2 + 2 Al 3 Cu + 2 AlCl3 After separating remnants of aluminum from the copper that had formed (aluminum was in excess), heat was added to copper in order to evaporate the solution within it, thus giving pure copper. Once its mass was measured on the electronic balance, the next step would be to subtract both the mass of copper and water from the initial starting mass of copper chloride dihydrate to find the mass of chlorine. Some quick calculations involving moles and ratios would yield the final empirical formula. Generally speaking, the method and science mentioned above is relatively simple. It is highly unlikely that the method itself is flawed, as a flawed method would render the entire experiment as being useless. Aside from the correct coefficient of water in the empirical formula, the abnormalities of copper chloride are likely due to other reasons that brought about such a high degree of unreliability. More precisely speaking, sometime after heating the copper chloride dihydrate on the hot plate, a series of errors occurred that ultimately resulted in the findings seen currently. As the empirical formula was in no way accurate, this experiment should be repeated again. However, possible sources of errors need to be identified and rectified in order to have the second trial be of a higher degree of accuracy. Hopefully after such changes the calculated empirical formula can more closely reflect the actual empirical formula of copper chloride dihydrate.

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Eugene Hui 12.5 Reliability: Throughout the experiment, there were many errors that could have altered the empirical formula derived in the end. Below is a table listing many of the limitations and their effects on the lab. Please note that the factors are ordered from most to least significant. As mentioned previously, the original data was inconclusive so the empirical formula had to be calculated using another groups data. The reliability of both sets of data will therefore be discussed. Error/Limitation Switching of copper chloride between different lab equipment Effect of Error/Limitation Throughout the experiment, copper chloride was often placed into other beakers and other lab equipment in order to measure its mass. However, it was likely that during one of the stages the mass of the equipment was not taken into account, thus rendering the mass reading as being inaccurate, while having a significant impact on the raw data of the experiment. Improvement Although in this particular lab it is inevitable that copper chloride will be switched between various pieces of lab equipment, it is important to measure different equipment used before copper chloride is actually placed inside. One observation was that in the lab, some of the equipment that appeared to be the same (eg. Crucibles) actually had different masses that varied by multiple grams. Hence, masses of each and every piece of equipment used must be documented. Only after such, can the mass of copper chloride be calculated more accurately. One big factor behind why the copper pieces broke to pieces was due to poor handling. The softness was not expected, thus the two copper pellets were not handled as delicately. In order to prevent the pellets from breaking down, extra care needs to be taken next time. Also, tweezers or other similar equipment should not be used to pick up the pellets. Comment on Order of Significance Because ultimately the single most important factor in this experiment is mass itself, any factor that would have caused issues for the mass of copper chloride is a significant limitation in the experiment. Even the slightest difference in mass of the same equipment could alter the final mass of copper chloride (which is later used to determine the empirical formula), making this source of error the most important one.

Pieces of copper got trapped in filter paper

During the filtering stage, as the copper was very soft and saturated in the hydrochloric acid solution, the two large copper pellets (formed through the copper displaced from the solution) fell apart and were occasionally lodged in the filter paper. When transferring from filter paper to the crucible, some more bits and pieces also disintegrated and could not be placed in the crucible.

Because the initial starting mass was merely one gram, any change in mass at this stage in the experiment could have significant impacts on the final mass of copper, which important as it is used to calculate the empirical formula. Even small pieces that fell off have quite a bit of mass, thus their absence has quite an impact on the final mass of copper after heating.

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Eugene Hui 12.5 Rounding of numbers when calculating the final empirical formula Referring back to the table of processed data, the final ratio between H2O, Cu, and Cl was 2 to 2.75 to 1. For all intents and purposes, the ratio of copper was rounded to 3, giving the final empirical formula we see today. However, if the ratio of copper was kept at 2.75, the empirical formula would differ and actually be Cu11Cl4 4H2O (which is also far from the actual empirical formula.) In the original set of data (not used to calculate the empirical formula), the copper began to change color slightly from red to brown during the last 2-3 minutes of heating. A change in color is an indication that copper is reacting with oxygen, which is something that should not be happening. As oxygen reacts with copper, copper would start to form copper oxide and take on extra mass something that should be prevented. When measuring the original sample of copper chloride hydrate, air coming from the air conditioners would slightly alter the mass reading by up to 0.02 grams, making the copper chloride appear to be greater in mass. To have a more accurate representation of the empirical formula, all numbers should not be rounded, even though it may be easier to do so. Without a doubt, the subscripts would be much larger when rounding is not incorporated, such as in this case, but this also more accurately illustrates what the empirical formula should be based on the data collected and processed. With the case of this lab, the empirical formula derived if numbers were not rounded still did not have an effect on the accuracy of the empirical formula. As mass is arguably the sole determining factor in determining ratios, any number rounding is for the purposes of simplicity. If rounding of numbers is not incorporated, then the degree of accuracy would only increase.

When heating on the Bunsen burner, copper began to show signs of color change

More attention to the color should be paid during heating on the Bunsen burner. Any slight change in color would mean a change in mass, so during intervals when mass is collected, any signs of an increase in mass means that the copper is undergoing a reaction, and that heating should be stopped thereafter. Although there is no official gauge as to what is meant by brown color, any increase in mass is a clear sign to stop heating immediately.

As seen from the raw data table, the last few minutes resulted in an increase in the mass of copper. However, this increase in mass was very small and not too significant. Furthermore, it is possible to deduct when the mass was at its lowest and use that mass to calculate the empirical ratio. In other words, it is possible to bypass the effects of copper reacting with oxygen, so this is an error that is not as significant as the other ones mentioned.

Use of air conditioning

A simple improvement is to simply measure the mass in an area of the classroom that is not affected by air coming from the air conditioners. Or if possible, air conditioners should be switched off during the few minutes when mass is taken, and restarted if deemed necessary later on.

Although the mass was once again affected, air conditioning have nowhere near as large of an impact compared to factors. As the empirical formula is a ratio concerning mass and moles, as long as the subsequent masses collected throughout the experiment are accurate, the initial starting mass is not as important. Page 6 of 7

Eugene Hui 12.5

Bibliography: Santa Cruz Biotechnology. (n.d.). Copper(II) chloride dihydrate. Copper(II) Chloride Dihydrate. Retrieved September 21, 2013, from Copper Chloride (CuCl2). (2007, May 23). Amazing Rust. Retrieved September 22, 2013, from

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