An experiment to find the empirical formula when copper reacts with iodine

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An experiment to find the empirical formula when copper reacts with iodine


This experiment has been carried out to find out the empirical formula of the following reaction.

Copper + Iodine Copper Iodide

It is important to find out the mass of the copper and iodine both before and after the experiment, so that the empirical formula can be calculated.


A length of copper strip was cleaned using emery paper, then wiped with dry filter paper. After, the copper strip was weighed. Approximately 0.3g of iodine crystals was weighed and then placed in to a dry boiling tube. The copper strip was then placed into the boiling tube, two centimetres above the iodine, and bent over the edge to place it in a secure position.

The boiling tube was then heated over a Bunsen (tongs were used to hold the boiling tube). Soon, vapour could be seen. At the moment the vapour was seen, the boiling tube was removed from the heat until the vapour was no longer visible. Once no more vapour could be seen, the boiling tube was placed over the Bunsen again. This process was repeated until no more iodine crystals remained.

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The boiling tube was then allowed to cool, and the copper strip was removed and weighed. After weighing, the yellow coating of copper iodide was scrapped off the copper strip, into a watch glass and then weighed. Using the results regarding the weight of the copper strip before and after the experiment and the weight of the iodine, the empirical formula could be calculated.




Using the empirical formula, the following chemical equation can be used to show the product when copper and iodine are heated.

Cu + I     ...

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