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Author Topic: Identifying Unknown Compounds in a Lab  (Read 2151 times)

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Identifying Unknown Compounds in a Lab
« on: May 31, 2012, 01:48:43 PM »


I am looking for assistance from you chemistry maestros, geniuses, and experts on how to handle a 5-day lab of identifying unknown compounds using limited resources.

We were given four unknown compounds and a list of fifty possibilities. I am not as interested as in you guys helping me identify them (atleast not yet), but more interested on how you guys would tackle this assignment--no procedure is given to us, we can do whatever we want given the resources we are provided with.

Resources given are as follows:
Red and blue litmus paper
0.1 M silver nitrate solution*
Bromothymol blue indicator
Phenolphtalein indicator
0.1 M NaOH solution
0.1 M K2SO4 solution*
phenol red indicator
0.1 M HCl
0.1 M H2SO4

And then stuff like hot plates, B.B.s, elec. conductivity meters, thermometers etc. are also provided.

So basically I have two questions:
1.) What would your rough procedure look like and why (what each test would accomplish)


2.) What do all of these given testing chemicals do? I know what some do but the ones with asterisks I put next to I am not really sure of, and I hope you can help me out.

I appreciate your guy's help so much, and I hope you take the time to reply if you can help. It means a lot to me!



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Re: Identifying Unknown Compounds in a Lab
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2012, 05:19:45 PM »

This is a classic assignment, and there are spoilers for the procedures everywhere, perhaps even in your textbook.  So kudos to you for trying to work out a plan first.  What you want to do is build a sort of tree-shaped flowchart, with each test (start with the ones you know) separating the possible compound based on what reaction you would, or wouldn't get.
That all depends on how reasonable we're all willing to be.  I just want my friends back, except for Cartman, you can keep him.

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