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MOLAR MASS DETERMINATION BY FREEZING POINT

DEPRESSION
Authors: Daniel O. Amoah, Christian Jade Altobano, Athena Jeannelle Almero, Ma. Trixia Arenas, Lori Jane Gallo.

De La Salle University Dasmarias


City of Dasmarias- Cavite

ABSTRACT
The experiment was aimed to demonstrate the colligative property of solutions
using freezing point depression. The freezing point depression was then used to
calculate for the molar mass of an unknown substance. 5.0g of stearic acid (pure
solvent) was put in an ignition tube and heated in a water bath till it melted. It was
then allowed to cool and the freezing point was determined. 0.5g of benzoic acid
(solute) was then added to the cooled stearic acid and the mixture (solution) was
then heated till it melted. The mixture was then cooled and the new freezing point
of the solution was determined. The freezing point of the solute (benzoic acid) and
the solution (benzoic acid + stearic acid) was used to calculate for the freezing
point depression (Tf) which was finally used to determine the molar mass of the
solute (benzoic acid). The theoretical molar mass of benzoic acid was calculated to
be 56.25g/mol. At the end of the experiment the observed molar mass of the
benzoic acid was found to be 52.94g/mol with a percentage difference of 5.88%
with respect to the theoretical molar mass.

INTRODUCTION
Colligative properties of a solution are the properties that do not depend on the
nature of solute or solvent but rather on the amount of solute present. There are
four main colligative properties of solutions. These are freezing point depression,
boiling point elevation, vapor pressure lowering and osmotic pressure. Boiling point
refers to the temperature at which there is equilibrium between vapor pressure of
solutions and atmospheric pressure. At boiling points the temperature remains
constant. The boiling point of a solution is higher than a pure solvent because the
equilibrium vapor pressure of a solution is lower than that of a solvent and hence
needs to be heated to a higher temperature in order to equal the atmospheric
pressure.
The freezing point a solution refers to the temperature at which at which
substances in liquid states solidifies or substances in solid state melts. It is actually
the temperature at which there is equilibrium between solid and liquid phases.
Freezing point depression (Tf ) is the difference between the freezing point of a
pure solvent (Tof ) and the freezing point of a solution (Tf). it can be determined by
calculated by subtracting the freezing point of the solution from that of the pure
solvent (Tf = Tf - Tf). A solvent should be pure and its freezing point should be
lower than that of the solute for it to be used in freezing point determination
experiment. The freezing point depression (Tf) can be used to determine the
molar mass of the solute. This is because freezing point depression is directly to the
molal concentration of the solution.
Tf m
Tf = Kf .m

where m = molality of solution

where Kf = molal freezing point depression constant

However
m=

number of moles of solute


mass of solvent
in kg

m (molality) =

n solute
=
kg solvent

mass solute(m solute)


Molar mass solute(Mmsolute)
kg solvent

Therefore;
Mm

solute

(m

) (Kf solvent)
(Tf) (kg solvent)

solute

% difference = IMolar Mass

Molar Mass benzoic acid observedI


Molar Mass benzoic acid theoretical

benzoic acid theoretical

METHODOLOGY
In the experiment the reagents, stearic acid and benzoic acid were obtained. A
clean dry ignition tube was weighed and recorded we measured 5g of stearic acid
(pure solvent) into the pre-weighed empty dry ignition tube. The ignition tube was
then sealed with a two-hole cork. A thermometer was then put in the slightly larger
hole such that its bulb was fully buried in the stearic acid. A wire stirrer was also
put in the other hole in the cork. The whole ignition tube was then clamped and put
into a water bath such that the stearic acid within the ignition tube was below the
water level. The water bath was then heated until the stearic acid in the ignition
tube melted. The melting point of the stearic acid was then noted and recorded.
The melted stearic acid was then allowed to cool down while stirring it occasionally
with an up and down motion using wire stirrer. The temperature was recorded at 30
seconds interval after a great drop from the temperature of the melting point. The
recorded temperatures with their corresponding times were used to draw a cooling
curve of temperature against time. This was used to determine the freezing point of
the solvent (stearic acid) which was recorded as Tf.
In the second part of the experiment, 0.5 g of benzoic acid (solute) was weighed
and added to the cooled stearic acid in the ignition tube. The whole process was
repeated again and the freezing point of the solution (mixture of benzoic acid and
stearic acid) was determined and recorded as Tof. The freezing point depression
(Tf) of the solution was then calculated using the Tof and Tf obtained. The Tf was
then used to calculate for the molar mass of the benzoic acid.
All other calculations needed in the experiment were then done. The percentage
difference between the observed molar mass of the benzoic acid and the theoretical
molar mass of the benzoic acid was then calculated and recorded. All the recorded
values were put on tables and appropriate columns on the data sheet.

DATA, RESULT & EXPLANATION

Mass of dry test tube =

41.0 g

Mass of test tube and stearic acid =


Mass of stearic acid =

5.0 g

46.0 g

Table 1.1
Time (s)

Temperature
(oC)

Time (s)

Temperature
(oC)

71.0

150

52.0

30

57.0

180

52.0

60

55.0

210

52.0

90

53.0

240

50.0

120

52.0

270

49.0

Graph 1.1

cooling curve of stearic acid


temperature (oC)
80

71

70
60

57

55

53

52

52

52

52

51

50
TEMPERATURE (oC)

49

40
30
20
10
0
melting point

60 sec

120 sec

180 sec

240 sec

Table 1.1 shows the temperature and the corresponding time as the stearic acid
cooled. Graph 1.1 showed the graphical representation of table 1.1 where the
freezing point of stearic acid was found to be 52.5oC. The freezing point is the point
where the temperature remained constant for a number of minutes without
changing. It is seen as the temperature where the cooling curve remained a
straight horizontal line. The freezing point of stearic acid (T of ) from the graph 1.1
above is 52oC

Table 1.2
Time (s)

Temperature
(oC)

Time (s)

Temperature
(oC)

81.0

150

43.5

30

52.0

180

43.5

60

49.0

210

43.5

90

46.0

240

43.5

120

44.0

270

43.5

Graph 1.2

cooling curve of solution of stearic acid & benzoic acid


temperature (oC)
90

81

80
70
60

52

50
TEMPERATURE (oC)

49

46

44

43.5 43.5 43.5 43.5

42

40
30
20
10
0
melting point

60 sec

120 sec

180 sec

240 sec

Table 1.2 shows the temperatures and the corresponding times of the cooling of the
solution of stearic and benzoic acid. Graph 1.2 shows the graphical representation
of table 1.2. The freezing point of the solution is the point on the graph where
temperature remained constant for several minutes. The freezing point of the
solution of stearic acid and benzoic acid (Tf) from the graph 1.2 above is 43.5oC

Freezing point of stearic acid, Tof

52.0 oC

Freezing point of solution, Tf

43.5 oC

Freezing point depression, Tf

8.5 oC

Molality of solution

1.889 m

Number of moles of benzoic acid

9.4510-3 moles

Kf stearic acid

4.5 oC/m

Observed molar mass of benzoic acid =

52.94 g/mol

Calculated molar mass of benzoic acid =

56.25 g/mol

% difference

5.88 %

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION


I therefore conclude that solutions shows colligative properties that do not depend
on the nature of solute or solvent but on the amount of solute and solvent. Freezing
point depression is one of the types of colligative properties of solutions. The
freezing point depression of a solution can be used to determine the molar mass of
an unknown substance.
I recommend that in the experiment, the ignition tube should be taken from the
water bath after the reagents have melted to increase the rate of cooling and also
to save time.

REFERENCES
1.Zayas, Clovia Isabel S. and Ramonesa R. Ricardo. Laboratory manual for general
Chemistry. Manila: DLSU Press, 1994.
2. Joseph L. Samonte, Lolibeth V. Figueroa; General Chemistry Laboratory manual,
4th edition. C&E publishing, inc.
3.Roberts, Julian L Jr. et al. (General chemistry in the Laboratory. 3 rd edition NY:
W.H. Freeman and Co., 1991.
4. William Agyapong Quaittoo, The ultimate Chemistry. 4th edition. Cantonments
Accra- Ghana. 1996.