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Empirical Formula of a Hydrate

The purpose for this lab is to determine the empirical formula for an
unknown hydrate and understand what an empirical formula represents.
A hydrate is a salt bonded with water (H2O) and has a formula saltx H2O
where x is the number of water molecules attached to each salt molecule. An
example of a hydrate is CaSO33H20, or calcium sulfate trihydrate, and it is
written this way because the water molecules are not actually part of the
formula. The water can be removed, and the remaining salt is called an
anhydrous salt.
CaSO33H20 would look something like this:


represents the CaSO


Data to be collected (record masses to 2 decimals):

Mass of clean, dry evaporating dish:


Mass of evaporating dish and hydrate (before heating): __________________

Mass of evaporating dish and anhydrous salt (after heating):_____________
Mass of evaporating dish and anhydrous salt (after drying
Initial observations of hydrate:
Observations while heating:

Observations after heating:

Observations after drying overnight:

Day 1

Day 2 Steps 2 and 3 are missing, you must figure them out and write them
1. Remove your evaporating dish from oven

4. Dispose of product in the garbage, rinse evaporating dish in sink and

place it on the dishwasher.
Name___________________________________ Period: 5
Overall Question:
For every mole of CuSO4 in the hydrate, how many moles of water are there?
1) What numerical data did you collect yesterday and today that you can use
to help you answer this question? Make a list below:

2) Before you can answer the overall question, you will need to use your data
to figure out:
How many moles of CuSO4 were in your original sample of hydrate?
Use your notebook to figure out how to determine this, then write the
calculation below.

How many moles of H2O were in your original sample of hydrate? Use
your notebook to figure out how to determine this, then write the
calculation below.

When you have figured out how many moles you had of each in your original
sample, write them below as a ratio:
___________ moles of CuSO4 : __________ moles of H2O

3) To put the ratio above in the form of 1 mole CuSO4 : _______ moles H2O,
divide both values above by the moles of CuSO4.
1 mole CuSO4 : __________ moles H2O
4) Since a hydrate is always a whole number of salt molecules to a whole
number of water molecules, round the moles of H2O to the nearest whole
number and record it below.
Answer to overall question: 1 mole CuSO4 : __________ moles H2O
Write it as an empirical formula:
Extension Questions
1. In your own words, what does the ratio of CuSO4 to H2O mean?

2. If I told you that your hydrate had a formula of CuSO45H2O and that you had 1.80
moles of CuSO4, how many moles of H2O would be present?

3. What percent of the total molar mass of your hydrate comes from H2O?
a. What is the molar mass of CuSO4?

b. What is the molar mass of H2O?

c. What is the total molar mass of CuSO45H2O?

d. What percentage of the total molar mass of CuSO45H2O comes

from H2O?

4. If you stopped your experiment short, and did not drive off all of the water, how would
that affect the mole ratio of CuSO4 to H2O that you determined?

Procedure Steps To be cut into strips for students to determine order for
day 1
Label your evaporating dish with the initials of a group member.
Find the mass of your evaporating dish. Record it in your data table
Without removing evaporating dish from balance, add between 0.90g and
1.00g of hydrate to the evaporating dish. Record combined mass of hydrate
and evaporating dish together.
Record initial observations of hydrate.
Set up the hot plate. Heat evaporating dish with hydrate on about power
for 10 to 15 minutes. Record your observations as it heats.
Turn off and unplug hot plate. Use thermal gloves to remove evaporating
dish from hot plate and place it on your lab bench. Allow it to cool for about
3 minutes.
As it cools, record observations of your product.
When cooled, weigh your evaporating dish with product and record the mass
in your data table.
Place your evaporating dish on the appropriate shelf in the oven until