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Determining the Identity of an Unknown Contaminant in a Solution through the Use of a Designed Solubility Chart

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Introduction

Determining the Identity of an Unknown Contaminant in a Solution through the Use of a Designed Solubility Chart Purpose: The purpose of this experiment was to design a solubility chart of seven anions and eleven cations to determine the unknown contaminant - either Al3+, Ca2+, Cu2+, Fe2+, Pb2+, Cl1- or SO42- - of a given solution of water. Materials: The materials utilized for part one: * Beakers * Droppers * Spot Plate * Test Tubes * Waste Beaker * Cation Solutions (Aluminum, Ammonium, Barium, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Silver, Sodium, Zinc and Lead ions) * Anion Solutions (Acetate, Bromide, Carbonate, Chloride, Hydroxide, Phosphate and Sulfate ions) The materials utilized for part two: * Beakers * Droppers * Spot Plate * Test Tubes * Waste Beaker * Cation Solutions (Aluminum, Ammonium, Barium, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Silver, Sodium, Zinc and Lead ions) * Anion Solutions (Acetate, Bromide, Carbonate, Chloride, Hydroxide, Phosphate and Sulfate ions) * Unknown Solution (Sample 2) Procedure: The procedure utilized for part one to determine solubility chart for the experiment: 1. All the eleven cations and seven anions were set up along the classroom for easy access. ...read more.

Middle

Aluminum is very light and silver-white in appearance that is very applicable. Aluminum is a very reactive metal that can easily form oxide and mineral compounds that can be extracted from nature. Aluminum also can bond with water molecules in a hydrated molecule in it's ionic Al3+ state that is the ionic solution, Al(H2O)63+. However, in its ionic solution form it may be environmentally damaging as it cannot be destroyed by the environment and its various compounds may easily dissolve with water and contaminate the river and lake systems. Therefore, aluminum must be taken care of as a useful but also a dangerous contaminant. Aluminum exists in water and foods in low concentrations. Aluminum also exists in the air and pharmaceuticals, but in lower concentrations. Since aluminum is generally non-toxic, the average human population ingests approximately a minimum of 30-50 milligrams of aluminum daily and as high as 7 grams a day without severe harmful affects. Even though such high amounts are ingested, but less than 1% from food and less than 5% from water is actually absorbed by the body. Different concentrations of aluminum are found in food, water in air. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, this method is rather inefficient as many solutes may stay dissolved with the water. This method is also very slow. Thus the use of the ion exchange is the best method as the chemical reactions will create a fast process that can rid the water solution of contaminants. The procedure used for this report somewhat reflects the coagulation and ion exchange method as the unknown contaminant was identified through solubility means. The unknown solution was first reacted with the Lead ion solution as Lead ion was only soluble with Acetate and insoluble with the rest. This allowed the experiment to be more efficient as tests for the anions could be omitted; this lead to the experimentation of the five cations with the anions to determine the unknown contaminant. The unknown solution was tested with each of the seven anions and the results of the solubility were recorded. One by one the different solubility of each substance was narrowed down to Aluminum. In the Solubility Chart of Part One, the Aluminum ion solution was soluble with Acetate, Bromide, Chloride, Phosphate and Sulphate. The Aluminum ion solution was insoluble with only Carbonate and Hydroxide ions. This clearly showed that the unknown contaminant was Aluminum as the solubility of the unknown contaminant coincided with that of the Aluminum ion solutions. ...read more.

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