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Activity No.

3
Empirical Formula of a Compound

The empirical formula, also called the simplest formula, gives the least information
about the composition of a compound, since only the relative number of each of the atoms
present is indicated. The convention used in writing the empirical formula is to write the
symbols of the elements with the corresponding subscripts to designate the relative number
of atoms of the elements. The formula AxBy represents a compound in which there are x
atoms of A for every y atoms of B. as a result of the relationship between moles and atoms,
the empirical formula also gives information about the relative numbers of moles of A and B
in the compound. Thus, in AxBy, there are x atoms of A for every y atoms of B.

The empirical formula is always the direct result of an experiment. This may or may
not be the same as the molecular formula which is the exact formula of a compound.

In this experiment, the student will determine the empirical formula of a sulfide of
copper.

Materials
Bunsen burner Test tube holder
Test tube, 10ml Test tube rack

Chemicals
Copper strips Sulfur powder

PROCEDURE

1. Obtain a clean, dry test tube. Determine its weight using an analytical balance.

2. Place about 0.10-0.20 gram of copper strips into the weighed test tube and
determine its accurate weight.

3. Place sulfur powder just enough to cover the copper strips. Heat strongly until no
more yellow fumes are expelled and there are no more yellow dust adhering to the
sides of the test tube. (WARNING: OXIDES OF SULFUR ARE TOXIC! DO NOT INHALE THE
FUMES!)

5. Weigh the test tube with the product.

Activity No. 3
Empirical Formula of a Compound

FORMULA (1pt)
Copper ______
Sulfur ______

d. empirical formula of copper sulfide

QUESTIONS

1. If the product formed were cuprous sulfide, give the balanced chemical equation
representing the reaction of copper and sulfur. (3 pts)
________________________________________________________________________

2. a. Give the balanced chemical equation representing the burning of excess sulfur. (2 pts)
______________________________________________________________________

b. Will the empirical formula obtained be different in the presence of excess unburned
sulfur? (1 pt) ____________
EXPLAIN. (2 pts) ________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________

3. Which of the following is not an empirical formula? Encircle your answer. (2 pts)

Redox Titrations. Potassium Dichromate.

I. Introduction.
In this experiment you will use a standard solution of potassium dichromate (K2Cr2O7) to determine
the percent by weight of iron (as Fe2+) in an unknown solid.
Dichromate ion reduces to two chromium(III) ions. This reaction requires 6 electrons and 14 (!)
hydrogen ions:
Cr2O72+ 14H+ + 6 e- 2Cr3+ + 7H2O
Only one electron is necessary to reduce Fe(III) to Fe(II)
Fe3+ + e- Fe2+
Therefore, 1 mole of Cr2O7 (the oxidizing agent) reacts with 6 moles of Fe2+ (the reducing agent) to
2

form 6 moles of Fe3+ and 2 moles of Cr3+. Thus, in net ionic form:
Cr2O72+ 6Fe2+ + 14H+ 6Fe3+ + 2Cr3+ + 7H2O
The molecular form ofthe reaction equation can be written as:
K2Cr2O7 + 6Fe(NH4)2(SO4)2 + 7H2SO4
3Fe2(SO4)3 + Cr2(SO4)3 + K2SO4 + 6(NH4)2SO4 + 7H2O
The 1:6 mole ratio with respect to the amounts of Cr2O72and Fe2+ consumed will provide the
stoichiometric basis for all of the calculations in this experiment.
II. Experimental Procedure.
A. Preparation of a Solution of K2Cr2O7.
Weigh out 1.0-1.2 grams of K2Cr2O7 , transfer into a 250 mL volumetric flask, dissolve this sample
in distilled water, and carefully dilute to the mark with additional distilled water. Mix the solution
thoroughly by stoppering the flask and inverting several times.
Note: As an alternative, a larger quantity of this solution may be prepared in the stockroom and
delivered to the students.
B. Titration of unknown Fe(II) solution
You receive a solution of unknown concentration in 100 mL volumetric flask. Dilute it carefully to
the mark.
1. Using a 10 mL pipet, transfer exactly 10.00 mL of an unknown solution into an Erlenmeyer flask.
phosphoric acid solution and 8 drops of sodium diphenylamine sulfonate indicator to the flask. Swirl
each flask gently to mix the contents.
3. Fill your buret with the K2Cr2O7 solution and drain out enough so that the liquid level is just below
the upper calibration mark and the buret tip is full. Read the initial volume from the calibration scale
on the buret. This reading and all other buret readings should be estimated to the nearest 0.01 mL.
4. Titrate the iron solution in the flask. The intense purple color produced by the first drop of excess
K2Cr2O7 signals the end point for the titration. Obtain the final volume reading from the calibration
scale on the buret.

5. Repeat step 4 twice. The volume of K2Cr2O7 solution used should agree with the first titration
within 0.20 mL.
III. Calculations.
In all calculations we presume that 6 moles Fe(NH4)2(SO4)2 are equivalent to 1 mole K2Cr2O7.
1. Knowing the molarity of your K2Cr2O7 and the volume used in each titration, you can calculate the
molarity of your Fe(II) solution as
molarity(Fe(II)) = 6 x molarity(Cr2O7)volume(Cr2O7)/volume(Fe(II))
2. Knowing the molarity of your Fe(II) solution then allows you to calculate the number of moles of
iron (as Fe2+) in your unknown sample and the mass of Fe in g:
mass(Fe) = (moles Fe) (55.85 g Fe/mole Fe)
m(Fe)=55.85 x (total volume) x molarity(Fe(II))

Take into account that your total volume is 100 mL

5. Repeat the foregoing calculations for each sample titrated and determine an average value and
standard deviation.
Dichromate Titrations.
Name:_________________________Date:___________________
Determination of Iron Unknown.
Molarity of potassium dichromate: _______ M
Volume of the pipet used (volume (Fe): ______mL
Titration 1 __________________mL
Titration 2 __________________mL
Titration 3 __________________mL
mass Fe
#1 __________ # 2 ____________ # 3_____________