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Percent Water In a Hydrate

Saeideh Taherafshar
Professor Richard Durand
Chemistry 110- 08
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October 13, 2010

This experiment is about measuring the percentage of water in a hydrated salt.
The percent water is determined by the loss in mass after heating. When the hydrate is
heated, water of hydration evaporates, and the crystal lattice crumbles. The mass of the
water lost will be less than the mass of the hydrate because of evaporating the water after
heating the compound.

There are many substances that water molecule is a part of their crystal structure,
and we call them hydrates, and the bound between ions and water molecules called water
of hydrate. In many cases there is a fixed number of water molecules associated with
each mole of salt. When we want to write a formula for the hydrate salt, we can use the
formula for the anhydrous salt followed by a dot and the appropriate number of water
molecules. For example, the formula for the hydrate copper (II) sulfate pentahydrate is
CuSO4 . 5H2O
It means for one mole of CuSO4, there are 5 moles of H2O present. The dot in between
indicates that there is a weak bound that attached the water molecules to the ion CuSO4.
Based on the manual lab book (Fundamentals of Chemistry I), there are different
types of hydrate salt compound such as deliquescent and efflorescent.
There are some hydrate salt compounds that easily tend to lose their water of hydration
when they exposed in a normal condition of temperature and pressure. Na2SO4 . 10H2O or
Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate heptahydrate, MgSO4 • 7H2O) are examples of this type
of compounds that easily lose their water.
The other type is deliquescent that in some cases compounds can actually dissolve
in their water hydration, and have the ability to absorb so much water from the
atmosphere that they form a solution. Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) and magnesium sulfate
(MgSO4) are the examples.
CuSO4 + 5H2O → CuSO4 . 5H2O

In some cases, by applying heat to a hydrate salt, the water easily can be removed
because the water is loosely bound to the salt and it forms the anhydrous salt, meaning
without water.
CuSO4 . 5H2O → CuSO4 + 5H2O
Hydrate Anhydrate

The purposes of this lab are becoming more familiar with the properties of
hydrates, reviewing mass and mole relationships in chemical reactions, and determining
the percent water by weight in a hydrate sample.

The procedure for determining the percent water in hydrate salt appears in the lab
manual (1).
Since it is an unknown hydrate, avoid contact with eyes, skin, and clothing. And
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do not touch the hot stuff to avoid any burnings.

Since we will heat the hydrated salt, we can expect that the mass of water lost will
be less that the mass of the hydrate heated.

After doing all the measurements, it is time to find the percent water in the
hydrate. Experimentally measuring the percent water in a hydrate involves first heating a
known mass of the hydrate to remove the waters of hydration and then measuring the
mass of the anhydrate remaining. The difference between the two masses is the mass of
water lost. Dividing the mass of the water lost by the original mass of hydrate used is
equal to the fraction of water in the compound. Multiplying this fraction by 100 gives the
percent water in the hydrate. The calculation in below shows that how we got the
numbers in the table. And since we measured everything twice, we do the calculation for
each data.

First, calculate the mass of hydrate heated by subtracting the mass of crucible
from the mass of crucible with hydrated salt:

Crucible & hydrated salt (g) – crucible (g) = mass of hydrate heated (g)

Determination 1: 20.65 g – 18.76 g = 1.89 g Mass of Hydrate

Determination 2: 20.73 g – 18.74 g = 1.99 g

Then, calculate the mass of water lost from the hydrate during heating by subtracting the
mass of crucible with anhydrous salt from the mass of crucible with hydrated salt:

Crucible & anhydrous salt (g) – crucible & hydrates salt (g) = water lost (g)

Determination 1: 20.65 g – 20.35 g = 0.30 g Mass of water lost

Determination 2: 20.73 g – 20.43 g = 0.30 g

By using the formula in below, we can calculate the amount of percent water in
the hydrate:

% Water = Mass of water lost, g × 100%

Mass of hydrate, g

Determination 1: % Water = (0.30 g / 1.89 g) × 100% = 15.87 %

Determination 2: % Water = (0.30 g / 1.99 g) × 100% = 15.08 %

15.87 5 and 15.08% are the percent water in the hydrate we measured the reason
why they are different is because in the beginning of the lab before doing the heating, we
took different amount mass of hydrate. The last thing we need to calculate in this part is
the mean percent water of the hydrate.

% Mean = % water of determination 1 + % water of determination 2

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% Mean = 15.87 % + 15.08 % = 15.48 %


Mass in grams Determination Determination 2

Crucible and hydrate 20.65 20.73
(Before heating)

Crucible 18.76 18.74

Hydrate 1.89 1.99

Crucible and anhydrous 20.35 20.43

Salt (after heating)

Water Lost From 0.30 0.30

Percent Water in 15.87 % 15.08 %
(In Percent)

Mean Percent Water in 15.48%


So far, the calculation we did was to determine the percent water in the hydrate.
But from here on we want to find out the number of the water molecules in formula. We
know that the unknown hydrate is barium chloride BaCl2, and since it is a hydrate it has
water molecule in it. The formula for the compound is BaCl2 · xH2O, where the x is the
number of the water molecules (H2O). We know that the formula for the non-water part
of the substance is BaCl2 because Ba is a +2 ion (cation) and Cl2 is a -1 ion (anion). “X”
can be any small whole number but certain not a decimal. In below, you will see the way
to find out the number of molecule water in the barium chloride compound. I used the
numbers of determination 1 of the table.

1. The molecular mass of BaCl2

Ba = (137.33)(1) = 137.33
Cl2 = (35.45)(2) = 70.90
137.33 + 70.90 = 208.23 g/mol
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2. Determine the mass of anhydrous

Mass of anhydrous = mass of anhydrous & crucible g – mass of crucible g
20.35 g – 18.76 g= 1.59 g

3. Determine the number of moles in anhydrous

Number of anhydrous mole = mass of anhydrous / molar mass
Number of anhydrous mole = 1.59 g / 208.23 g/mol = 0.76 × 10-2 mol

4. Determine the molar mass of water

H2 = (1.00) (2) = 2.00
O = (16.00)(1) = 16.00
16.00 + 2.00 = 18.00 g/mol

The molar mass of the water is 18.00 g/mol, and from the previous answer we know the
amount of water in original sample is 0.30 g.

5. Number of moles of water in original sample

0.30 g / 18.00 g = 1.67 × 10-2 mol

6. Calculating the number of water of hydration

Number of H2O in hydration = Number of moles of H2O

Number of moles of BaCl2 (anhydrous)

Number of H2O in hydration = 1.67 × 10-2 mol = 2.1 ~ 2

0.76 × 10-2 mol

Therefore, the formula of the hydrated salt is BaCl2 . 2H2O.

As we expected, the mass of the water lost is less than the mass of the hydrate salt
heated. When we heat the compound, the water evaporates and leaves all anhydrous salt
behind. With measuring the mass of the anhydrous salt, we can calculate the mass of
water lost by subtracting it from the mass of hydrate that at the end help us to calculate
the percent water in the hydrate.
One of the factors that lead the result into an error is covering the crucible
completely while it’s heating. When we cover the crucible, it will not let the water vapor
leave the evaporating dish. As the result, for the mass of water lost we will get a wrong
measurement. So, be notified and put the crucible cover somehow that there be a way for
water vapor to leave the crucible. The whole meaning of measuring the water lost of the
hydrate is to let the water vapor leave the hydrate not to trap it.
It is also really important to let the evaporating dish cools to room temperature
before weighing. If it is not cool, convection currents will be set up that will lower the
mass. As the result all the calculation will go wrong.
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1. Neidig, H.A.; Spencer, J. N.; Percent Water in a Hydrate; Signature Lab Series,
Fundamentals of Chemistry I, Cengage Learning: Ohio, OH, 2008, pp 62-65.

Work Cite

Stranz, Michael, and Jeff Nunn, eds. Fundamentals of Chemistry 1, CHEM 110.
Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.