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Lewis 6th

Empirical Formula Lab

Nikpreet Singh
Joseph Mathew
Neelam Binstock
Problem Statement: How can the empirical formula of a zinc chloride compound be found
(ZnxCly)?
Apparatus
Materials:
Erlenmeyer flask, 120 mL
Zinc, 1 film canister half filled.
Balance
3M HCl, 50mL
Hot plate
Fume hood
Tongs
Diagram:

Method
The mass, in grams was found of an empty 120 mL Erlenmeyer flask with an uncertainty
of about 0.02g. Then a half film canister filled with Zinc pieces was added to the flask and the
combined mass was found to the same uncertainty. Then 50mL of 3M HCl was added to the flask
and observations were taken. This flask was then put under the hot plate in the fume hood. When
the contents began to smoke, the flask was removed from the hot plate and the mass of the zinc
chloride and flask was found to the same uncertainty. The zinc chloride was reheated under the
hot plate and re-massed two more times.
1

Lewis 6th

Empirical Formula Lab

Nikpreet Singh
Joseph Mathew
Neelam Binstock

Data Collection
Masses of Flask and Zinc Chloride
Mass (g) (0.02 g)
Mass of labeled flask
101.34
Mass of flask and Zinc
103.18
Mass of flask + zinc chloride
(line 1)
159.00
Mass of flask + zinc chloride
(line 2)
104.62
Mass of flask + zinc chloride
(line 3)
N/A

Qualitative Data:
Before:

The substances smell like a box of lighted matches.


More than 50mL is used.

During:

The mixture quickly bubbles


There is a chemical reaction with the gaseous release.
There was lots of smoke created from the heating of mixture.
The flint stone test with the Hydrogen did not make any noise.

After:

Only a small smudge of the original material is left.


The same smell as before is retained.
The substance looks burnt, brown.
The substance traveled towards the walls of the beaker.

Data Processing:
1. (mass of flask and zinc) (g) -(mass of flask) (g) = 103.18g 101.34g = 1.84g zinc reacted
2. (mass of flask and zinc chloride, line 2) (g) (mass of flask) (g) = 104.62g 101.34g = 3.28g
zinc chloride produced
3. (mass of flask and zinc chloride, line 2) (g) - (mass of flask and zinc) (g) = 104.62g
103.18g = 1.44g chlorine
4a. moles of zinc:

1.84 g zinc 1 mol Zn


x
=.028 mol Zn
1
65.39 g Zn
2

Lewis 6th

Empirical Formula Lab


1.44 g chloride 1mol Cl
x
=.041 mol Cl
1
35.45 g Cl

4b. moles of chloride:

5.Ratio of the moles of Cl to Zn:

Nikpreet Singh
Joseph Mathew
Neelam Binstock

1.45 mol Cl
3
=1. 46
.028 mol Zn
2

Calculations
calc #

Calculation Objective

Value

1
Mass of zinc reacted

1.84g

Mass of zinc chloride produced

3.28g

Mass of chlorine in zinc chloride

1.44g

2
3
4a
4b

Moles of Zinc

.028 mol Zn

Moles of Chlorine

.041 mol Cl

1.4 6about
Ratio of the moles of Chlorine to Zinc

Empirical Formula:
Zn2Cl3
Conclusion and Evaluation:
1. Based on your data, what do you think is the likely ratio: atoms Cl
atoms Zn ? Explain.
The likely ratio for

atoms Cl
atoms Zn

is

3
2

since 1.84g of Zinc and 1.44 grams of Chlorine were

used in the experiment. When converted to moles, there were .041 mol Chlorine and .028 mol
Zinc. The ratio of the moles shows that there were 1.46 atoms of Chlorine for every atom of Zinc
which cannot be possible as there cannot be a fraction of an atom. Therefore the ratio has to be
about three atoms of Chlorine for every two atoms of Zinc.

3
2

Lewis 6th

Empirical Formula Lab

Nikpreet Singh
Joseph Mathew
Neelam Binstock
2. Based on your data, what is the chemical formula (empirical formula) of zinc chloride? What
information does the chemical formula provide? Why is this referred to as an empirical
formula?
Based on the experimental data, the empirical formula of zinc chloride is Zn2Cl3.
This empirical formula provides the information that for every 2 atoms of zinc there are 3
atoms of chloride in the compound. Also, this empirical formula is the smallest whole
number ratio of the compound possible; therefore the ratio in the molecular formula will
be some multiple of this empirical formula. This formula is referred to as the empirical
formula because it is based off of experimental evidence and observations.
3. Describe how the value of your un-rounded ratio in calculation 5 compares to the accepted
value. Then evaluate* your method to see what limitations or weaknesses could have led to this
result.
*Note: To evaluate means to state a specific limitation, weakness, or mistake in your methods
AND to appreciate the effect on the results. This means you need to state a specific reason AND
explain why this led to your ratio being too high or too low.
The value of the unrounded mole ratio of Cl to Zn in calculation 5 is 1.46, this
rounds to the value of 1.5 or 3/2. This ratio is much higher than the accepted ratio of .5 or
. A possible flaw in the experiment could have led to this too high of a ratio. This flaw
might have occurred when the compound was not left on the hot plate for long enough,
because of this there was some water left over in the flask which caused an error in the
data collection because it contributed to the mass values, in a negative manner, and that
was why the ratio received from calculation number five was too high.
4. Suppose that you had not driven off all the water from the zinc chloride. How would this error
have affected the ratio in calculation 5? Show evidence for your prediction by repeating
calculations 2 5 using the first value for the mass of the flask and zinc chloride. (If the mass
never varied, see your teacher)
This error is precisely what happened while doing experimental data collection.
This error would have created a higher than accepted ratio in calculation 5. After
repeating
Evidence
1. (mass of flask and zinc) (g) -(mass of flask) (g) = 103.18g 101.34g = 1.84g zinc reacted
2. (mass of flask and zinc chloride, line 1)(g)-(mass of flask )(g) = 159.00g-101.34g = 57.7g zinc chloride
3. (mass of flask and zinc chloride, line 1)(g)-(mass of flask and zinc)(g) = 159.00g-103.18g = 55.82g chlorine
4. moles Zn: ((1.84g Zn)/(1)) x ((1 mol Zn)/(65.39g Zn)) = .028 mol Zn

Lewis 6th

Empirical Formula Lab

Nikpreet Singh
Joseph Mathew
Neelam Binstock

Moles Cl: ((55.82g Cl)/(1)) x ((1 mol Cl)/(35.45g Cl)) = 1.57 mol Cl
5. ((1.57 mol Cl)/(.028 mol Zn)) = 56.1 much higher than accepted