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Thermal Decomposition Of Metal Carbonates

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Thermal Decomposition Of Metal Carbonates Aim: To investigate a range of metal carbonates and see if they thermally decompose. Written By Tauqir Sharif Research: When a metal is thermally decomposed the bond between the metal and its carbonate (carbon and oxygen) is removed and the carbonate is released as carbon dioxide. Metal Carbonate = Metal Oxide + Carbon Dioxide Malachite is an ore of copper. It is made mostly of copper carbonate. It can be crushed into a green powder. If this powder is heated it changes colour. A new substance has been made. The new substance is a black powder. This is called copper oxide. The copper carbonate has been decomposed. Copper oxide is made by thermal decomposition of copper carbonate. Carbon dioxide is also made. The formula for this is: Copper Carbonate = Copper Oxide + Carbon Dioxide (CuCO3 = CuO + CO2) The reactivity series determines how fast this reaction occurs. The reactivity series is the order of metals in the periodic table. The most reactive metals are placed at the top of the reactivity series. The least reactive materials are placed at the bottom of the reactivity series. From preliminary work that I have already done I know that Potassium and sodium are the most reactive metals, and that gold and platinum are the least reactive metals. To determine the order of how reactive a metal is and where to place it in the reactivity series you have to see how the metal reacts to: > Oxygen (air) > Water > Acid When metals are heated they react with oxygen in the air. As the metal is heated it reacts with the oxygen to form an oxide. The most reactive metals such as potassium and sodium burn brightly when they are heated. The less reactive metals do not burn brightly, and take longer to form their oxide. With some metals there is no reaction at all. ...read more.


To make this investigation is a fair test I will have to: > Use the sum of all the elements atomic mass numbers within a metal carbonate. > Use the same size cylinder (250mm) > Keep the Bunsen burner on the same flame. > Use the same type of Bunsen burner. > Keep the Bunsen burner at the same distance. > Use the same size test tube > Use a fresh test tube each time For mass I will have to use a different scale of measure. This is because all of the different metal carbonates which I am to investigate have different atomic mass numbers. In order to solve this problem I will work out what the mass for each of the metal carbonates is. This will keep my test fair as I will always be testing the carbon dioxide which is produced for the atomic mass of each metal carbonate. In order to do this I will be looking at a copy of the periodic table and then looking at the elements which are within each metal carbonate. I will take the atomic mass number of each of the elements in the metal carbonate and add them up this will give me the mass for each metal carbonate. For example if I want to work out how much Zinc carbonate to use in my experiment I just have to look at Zinc carbonates formula which is ZnCO3 from this I can work out that Zinc carbonate contains 1 Zinc molecule, 1 Carbon molecule and 3 Oxygen molecules. If I look at the periodic table it shows me that the atomic mass numbers for Zinc, Carbon and oxygen are 65, 12 and 16. If I add 65 to 12 I end up with 77. As there are 3 Oxygen molecules in Zinc carbonate I add 16 (the atomic mass number for oxygen) not once but 3 times. ...read more.


I predicted that Potassium would decompose the slowest, releasing the least Carbon dioxide. I predicted this because Potassium was the highest metal in the reactivity series that I used. However, the metal carbonate that thermally decomposed the slowest releasing the least carbon dioxide was Sodium Carbonate. Potassium was nonetheless very close behind Sodium. I didn't expect Sodium to thermally decompose the slowest because Potassium was above it in the reactivity series. In conclusion to my experiment I believe that the lower down a metal is in the reactivity series the easier it is to thermally decompose although Sodium did not fit this pattern. Evaluation: I think that the Sodium being the metal which thermally decomposed the slowest was an anomalous result. I think this because Sodium was lower than Potassium in the reactivity series. The volume of Carbon Dioxide that was given off shouldn't have been as low. This could be an anomalous result because the Sodium Carbonate was contaminated with a metal higher up in the reactivity series. If I had more time I would have tested each carbonate three times and then I could have produced an average. From this average I could have then produced another graph and compared the two. This would have helped me pick out any anomalous results easily. If I could have used a bigger bowl I would have because the one that was used was too small. It was very difficult to get my hand underneath the cylinder and place the tube inside it. The time intervals should have been more varied as it was very hard to keep reading the level of water after every ten seconds because it was hard to judge where the water level was. Overall I don't think my results were as accurate as I did not repeat any of my tests so any of my results could have been anomalies. If I could do this investigation again I would: > Do more repetitions > Use a bigger Bowl > Have larger time intervals for measuring the amount of Carbon Dioxide. 0 ...read more.

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