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Obtaining Zinc Oxide from calamine.

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Obtaining Zinc Oxide from calamine


Calamine is a mineral that contains Zinc Oxide. Its composition is quite complicated but it can be considered to contain zinc carbonate (ZnCO3). Upon heating it decomposes as follows:

ZnCO3                     ZnO + CO2image00.png

(C=12, O=16, Zn=65)

The equation allows you to calculate a theoretical conversion of the calamine into zinc oxide but how close to this can be achieve in practice? In the chemistry industry they need to be able to calculate %yields in order to make sure that their processes are economical.


This Experiment will try to produce a conversion chart which will show how much zinc oxide can be made by experimenting by heating different masses of zinc carbonate. These thus can be compared to the theoretical values worked out from the equation.


I predict that the results in the test will not match those in the theoretical results. They will be either a little above it due to the efficiency of the experiment.



The safety factors in which we have to consider are the Bunsen Burner. We must also wear goggles at all times and must make sure not to pick up the mineral wool, as it is an irritant.

Fair Testing

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2.0g = 81/125 x 2.0 = 0.65 x 2.0 = 1.30g

2.5g = 81/125 x 2.5 = 0.65 x 2.5 = 1.62g

3.0g = 81/125 x 3.0 = 0.65 x 3.0 = 1.94g

3.5g = 81/125 x 3.5 = 0.65 x 3.5 = 2.23g

Suitable Number and Ranges

A suitable range of number of readings would be about 7. The previous experiment had the same amount of readings and was sufficient enough to draw conclusions. The weight of each will range from 0.5g to 3.5g. The range is suitable as it is amounts which are able to fit in a test tube. The intervals are at 0.5g which is accurate enough to see any patterns or changes in the weight of the calamine.


The precautions for accuracy in this test must be taken into account. The mineral wool aids in helping stop the gases from escaping. The other factors to consider is that we must keep a constant record of the weight in order to know when the material has been all burnt. For more accurate results we could repeat the experiment several times. However at this current time it is not feasible.

Pre testing

Work has to be carried out in order to record correct readings. Before the calamine is added to each test tube, we need to weigh the test tube and the mineral wool by itself.

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The results in the test were satisfactory to the testing. The results were good. The factors in which effected the results were taken into account and dealt with sufficiently. Thus there were some efficient results. The results however were anomalous. These results could have been wrong due to unexplainable factors. The results would have also been better if the test was run out several times and an average was taken. This however was not feasible due to the practicality of time. Also to be taken into account is the method of burning we used. It is shown as efficient to a certain degree of accuracy but are there any other tests which will prove as any better. If so, will it take into account any of the unknown inaccuracies which had arose in this test.

I felt that the mineral wool did do its purpose very well. It was suitable and was effective.

The graphs do compliment each other pretty well. The evidence is reliable enough to draw conclusions from. The result I feel were good as we took into account the fact that the material had to be heated several times before the zinc oxide will be fully made.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Height and Weight of Pupils and other Mayfield High School investigations section.

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