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Ransegnola 1

Brett Ransegnola
Michaela Cullum-Doyle/ Peterson
Chem Lab
Electrolyte Determination
Electrolytes are compounds which disassociate in aqueous solution; they form
ions and increase the conductibility of the overall solution. During the investigation,
various solutions were made and tested for conductivity in order to determine the
electrolyte status of various compounds.
Chemical Responsibility:
The large amount of potentially dangerous compounds used during the
investigation made proper handling essential. While calcium chloride, sodium
chloride and sucrose are not dangerous, many compounds used are quite
dangerous. Hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, acetic acid, ammonia, isopropyl
alcohol and ammonium chloride were all used. Hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide,
and acetic acid are toxic, corrosive, and may cause burns. Ammonia is toxic,
corrosive, a respiratory irritant, and potentially damaging to soft contact lenses.
Isopropyl alcohol is highly flammable and toxic. Ammonium chloride is toxic by
ingestion and sodium sulfite is a general irritant.
With all these risks, gloves were used protective glasses were worn at all
Proper disposal of all waste products was exercised. All salts used were
placed in a waste container labeled as such (with the exception of the NaCl, which is
harmless and was instructed to be poured down the drain) HCl and NaOH waste was
placed in a Waste Acid-Base container. Acetic acid and ammonia were placed in the
Acid-Base container. Sugar and isopropyl alcohol were placed in the Sugar/Alcohol
waste container.
Report Data: See attached
Sample Calculations: N/A
Discussion of Results:
Due to the nature of the experiment, results are extremely qualitative.
Sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, calcium chloride, sodium chloride, ammonium
chloride, and the mixture of ammonia and acetic acid (ammonium acetate) all
appeared to be strong electrolytes. The lightbulb were lit brightly for each. For
ammonia, sugar, acetic acid, and isopropyl alcohol, the light bulb did not light up.
These were observed to be non-electrolytes. Based on prior knowledge, ammonia

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and acetic acid should have lit up the lightbulb as well for they are both weak
Also, it was found that dilution of a solution weakens the strength of the
electrolyte. This was expected. More particles were between the ions in solution;
therefore, less electrical current could be transferred via the spread out ions.
The problem with the validity of this experiment was with the use of a light
bulb as an indicator of electrolyte status. In order to determine the strength of the
electrolyte, an arbitrary decision as to the strength of the light given off was made
for each solution. It placed too much emphasis on qualitative analysis and allows for
the human individuality factor to affect the results. A better quantitative
determination should be used. For example if the amount of lumens given off solely
by the light was able to be measured, then a better comparison of the strengths of
electrolytes could be made. The other major problem is the determination between
a strong and a weak electrolyte. This has to do with the ambiguity of the distinction.
A quantitative boundary between the two classifications should be made.
Although a superficial analysis of electrolyte status was able to be made
using this experiment, no real conclusions could be made due to flaws in procedure
and practice.