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Author Topic: Identifying Unknown Compounds in a Lab  (Read 2191 times)

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a.dunn.wa

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

Hello,

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:
Water
Ethanol
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)

and

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!

Andy
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Arkcon

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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.
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Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.

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