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Freezing Point Depression: Lauric Acid

Introduction
When a substance freezes or solidifies, the molecules form a certain arrangement which
in most cases is a closely packed and very dense solid. However when impurities are introduced,
they interfere with normal molecular interactions. This causes the need for more energy to be
taken out of the system in order for the system to solidify. Hence, the freezing temperature is
lowered. An example of this process can be seen during winter after a snowstorm. Road salt is
spread onto roads in order to lower the freezing point of water so that ice cannot form as easily.
In this lab, Lab Pro was used to determine the freezing point depression constant (

) for
Lauric acid. This was done by first determining the freezing point of pure Lauric acid. In order to
do so, we obtained a test tube with pure Lauric acid which was initially frozen. We melted the
solid by placing it in a beaker of water at around 60. Then, the test tube was placed in a beaker
of cold water and a temperature probe was placed in the test tube. As the Lauric acid cooled and
eventually formed a solid, the temperature data was recorded by the Lab Pro device. Once the
Lauric acid was completely frozen into a solid, the graph and data were able to be analyzed. This
process was repeated twice to find the average freezing point of Lauric Acid.
The first part of the experiment was done only to find the freezing point of pure Lauric
acid, which will serve as a baseline for the following two experiments and eventually lead to the
determination of

for Lauric acid. The following two experiments were done exactly as the
first part. The sample was frozen to begin with, melted in warm water, and put in an ice bath to
solidify while temperature data was recorded. However, the samples in Part 2 were not pure
Lauric acid, but a solution of Lauric acid and Benzoic Acid. In the first test tube, the mixture is
composed of 0.750g of Benzoic acid and 8.00g of Lauric acid. In the second tube, the mixture
was 1.50g BA and 8.00g LA. The molality and change in freezing temperatures can be easily
calculated and thus, the freezing point depression constant can be found.

Equations
The most important equation in this lab is as follows:

Where is the lowering of the freezing point in for the solution relative to the freezing point
of the pure solid, is the molality of the solution, and

is the freezing point depression
constant for the solvent. This equation was crucial and utilized in Part 2 of this lab to find

by
first finding the that resulted from the two impure mixtures.
[2]
As shown in the previous equation, represents the molality of the solution and can be
calculated by the following equation:




The molality is used rather than the molarity because molality does not depend on the volume of
the solvent which can change when temperature changes.

Results
The freezing point of pure Lauric
Acid was found in the first part of this lab
by analyzing the graph of temperature vs.
time. One trial is shown to the right in
Figure 1. The freezing point can be seen as
the flat portion of the graph. The process
was done two times and the two freezing
points were found to be 43.44 and
43.13, which leads to an average freezing
point of 43.285 for pure Lauric acid.
In the next two experiments, the
molality of the mixtures were found by using
the molar weight of Benzoic Acid which is 122.12 g/mol. The molality for the 0.750g BA
sample was found to be 0.768mol/kg. Also, the freezing point for this sample was found to be
40.99, which corresponds to a =2.295. Furthermore, using equation [1], the freezing point
depression constant was found to be

=2.989/
Similarly, the molality for 1.50g BA sample was found to be 1.534mol/kg. Also, the
freezing point was found to be 37.85 which corresponds to 5.435. This leads to the
calculation of

=3.540/ for the second sample. The average was determined to be

=3.265/, which was the result of interest.

Discussion
The results of this lab were qualitatively expected. After the freezing point was
determined for pure Lauric Acid, lower freezing points were found each time for the two samples
with BA solutes. This was expected because the impurities in the solution cause the need for
more energy to be taken out of the system for the system to solidify. As for the quantitative
results, the freezing point of pure Lauric Acid was found to be 43.285 which is pretty much
exactly the same as the literature value at 43.2.
Figure 1: Temperature vs. Time for Pure Lauric Acid
Considering the freezing point that we found was almost identical to the literature value,
it is safe to assume that there was little to almost no error involved with our experiments. Since
each part of the experiment was done exactly the same, we can assume that our value of

=3.265/ is reasonably close to the actual freezing point depression constant of Lauric
Acid.

Conclusion
With the use of Lab Pro, we were able to measure the decreasing temperatures of our 4
samples as they solidified. First, we found the average freezing point of pure Lauric Acid to be
43.285 which was almost identical to the literature value. Then, we calculated the freezing
points of two solutions of Benzoic Acid and Lauric Acid and found that they were lower with the
additional solute. This led to the determination of the freezing point depression constant of

=3.265/ for Lauric acid, which was the objective of the experiment.