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Thermal Decomposition of Metal carbonates

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Leanne Heath 10 Derby 1 Thermal Decomposition of Metal carbonates The aim of this experiment is to determine the order of the reactivity series by investigating the thermal breakdown of metal carbonates. Hypothesis 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 cerbon dioxide. The reactivity series determines how fast this reaction occurs. The reactivity series is the order 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 as 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. These are the metals at the bottom of the reactivity series, such as gold. Also the most reactive metals form their oxide much quicker than the less reactive metals. This type of reaction is called an oxidation reaction, because the metal gains an oxygen. The formula for the reaction with air is: Metal + Oxygen = Metal Oxide Metals can also be placed in water to see how they react. Again the extremely reactive metals potassium and sodium react more vigorously compared to the less reactive metals. ...read more.


Because they hold onto their carbonate too tightly. I have chosen not to use any metals below copper because these metals will thermally decompose too quickly, because they have a very loose bond with their carbonate. I have chosen to use Manganese because I am going to try to investigate where this fits in the reactivity series. Also I have chosen to use 2 grams of metal carbonate each time. Apparatus The apparatus that will be used in this experiment is: * Clamp Stand * Heat Mat * Bunsen Burner * 10 Teat Tubes (all the same size) * Stop Clock * Top pan balance * Paper * Water Filled Trough * Gas Cylinder * Bung and piping Fair Testing To make this investigation is a fair test I will have to: * Use the same amount of carbonate each time. * 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 * When measuring the mass of the carbonate, place it on paper because paper towels hold some of the carbonate. In the experiment the diameter of the tube which takes the Co2 from the test tube to the cylinder cannot be too small. If the diameter is too small the amount of gas won't be able to travel through, creating a back pressure which will slow down the rate of the reaction. Safety To make sure that this investigation is a safe one the following safety procedures have to followed. * When the Bunsen burner is not being used it should be put on a yellow flame. This is the safety flame and is visable and cooler * If a test tube cracks or melts turn off the Bunsen burner and stop the investigation immediately. ...read more.


This could be an anomalous result because the Iron Carbonate was contaminated with a metal lower down in the reactivity series. If there had been more time allocated for this experiment it would have been better for each group to test all of the carbonates. Instead of each group doing one carbonate and then find out the results for the other carbonates from other members in the class. Therefore if any anomalous results occurred you could use another groups results. Also more repetitions should have been done to stop any anomalous results When measuring the weight of the carbonates it would have been better not to use the same mass for each carbonate. Instead the same number of molecules should have been used for each carbonate. If one carbonate had less molecules than another carbonate, it thermally decomposes quicker, than the carbonate with more molecules. If I could have used a bigger trough I would have because the one that was used was too small. It was hard to get your hand under the cylinder and put the tube under the cylinder. The time intervals should have been more varied. It was hard to keep reading the level of water after every ten seconds because was hard to judge where the water level was and every ten seconds was too frequent. Overall I don't think my results were as accurate as they could have been because not enough repetitions were done. Also you don't now how reliable other peoples results are. If I had time to do the graph again I would have drawn it landscape instead of portrait. The reason for this is that the graph was too squashed together, meaning it was difficult to plot the results and draw a line of best fit without getting the points mixed up. If I could do this investigation again I would: * Do more repetitions * Test each carbonate myself * Use the same amount molecules in each carbonate, instead of the same mass carbonate. * Use a bigger trough * Have larger time intervals for measuring the amount of Carbon Dioxide. ...read more.

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