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IGCSE Chemistry

Chapter 2
Experimental Techniques


MHSc Biomedical Science (UKM), BSc Microbiology (USM)
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Introduction to Measurement
• In order to communicate effectively, scientists all over the world use
the International System of Units (SI units) as common standard for
their measurements.
• In laboratory, measurements are usually carried out to find the
• Time taken for reactions
• Mass of substances
• Volume of liquid and gases
• Temperature of substances
Measuring Time
Measuring Temperature
Measuring Mass
Measuring Volume of Gas
Measuring Volume of Liquid
Apparatus Accuracy
Beaker • Used to estimate volume of liquid

Measuring cylinder • More accurate than beaker.

• Measures up to 0.1 cm3.

Burette • Used for measuring variable volumes of

liquids accurately.
• Measures up to 0.1 cm3.

Pipette • Used for measuring fixed volumes of liquids

• E.g. 20.0 cm3, 25.0 cm3 and 50.0 cm3
• Measures up to 0.1 cm3.
• Chromatography can be used to separate
mixtures of coloured compounds.
• Mixtures that are suitable for separation by
chromatography include inks, dyes and
colouring agents in food.
• Simple chromatography is carried out on
• A spot of the mixture is placed near the
bottom of a piece of chromatography paper
and the paper is then placed upright in a
suitable solvent, eg water.
• As the solvent soaks up the paper, it carries the mixtures with it.
• Different components of the mixture will move at different rates.
• This separates the mixture out.
Rf Values
• Different chromatograms and the separated
components of the mixtures can be identified by
calculating the Rf value using the equation:

• The Rf value of a particular compound is always

the same if the chromatography has been carried
out in the same way.
• This allows industry to use chromatography to
identify compounds in mixtures.
• A chromatogram produced can be used to compare with a chromatogram
of a standard reference material to identify which chemicals the mixture
Locating Agents
• Sometimes the substances being separated are
• In this case, locating agents can be used to show
where the spots are.
• Locating agents bind to the chemicals in the spots.
• Sometimes, another chemical is then added, which
reacts with the locating agent to produce a coloured
spot, or the chromatogram is put under ultraviolet
light and the locating agent glows to show where the
spots are (chemiluminescent).
Boiling Point and Melting Point of Pure Substances
and Impure Substances
• Pure substances have a fixed boiling and melting point. For example,
pure water boils at 100°C and melts at 0°C.
• Impure substances have no fixed melting and boiling points. They can
melt and boil at a range of temperatures.
• Also, it can vary the melting and boiling points of pure substances. For
example, pure water boil at 100°C, but when salt is added this
increases to 102°C.
• In impure substances, as the different substances they contain melt or boil at
different temperatures.
• The presence of an impurity usually:
• Lowers the melting point
• Raises the boiling point
• The greater the amount of an impurity, the bigger the differences from the
true melting point and boiling point.
• The purity of a compound can be established using data from its melting
point or boiling point and from thin layer chromatography.
Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC)
• Thin layer chromatography is similar to paper
chromatography, but instead of paper, a thin layer of
powder is coated onto a glass or plastic plate.
• Different powders and solvents are used, depending
on the type of substance being separated.
• The results for a pure substance should show that:
• The substance produces just one spot on the plate
• The distance travelled by the substance is identical
to a known sample of that substance on the same
Importance of Purity in Substances
• It is important to manufacture pharmaceutical drugs to be as pure as
• This reduces the chances of unnecessary side-effects and helps to
ensure an accurate dose in each tablet or capsule.
• It is also important as contamination can result in health and safety
issues, especially food or drugs.
• This can make us to become very sick.
Methods of Purification

• To separate mixture that the substances do not react chemically.

• Including decanting, filtration, crystallization and distillation.
• Decanting: The process of removing a liquid from a solid which has settled
(sedimented) or form an immiscible heavier liquid (like oil and water)
by carefully pouring.
• Filtration is a method for separating an insoluble solid from a liquid.
• When a mixture of sand and water is filtered:
• the sand stays behind in the filter paper (it becomes the residue)
• the water passes through the filter paper (it becomes the filtrate)
• Crystallization (or evaporation) is used to
separate a soluble solid from a liquid.
• For example, copper sulfate is soluble in water
and its crystals dissolve in water to form
copper sulfate solution.
• During crystallization, the water evaporates
away leaving solid copper sulfate crystals
Separating Funnel
Simple Distillation
• Simple distillation is a method for separating the solvent from a solution.
• For example, water can be separated from salt solution by simple distillation.
• This method works because water has a much lower boiling point than salt.
• When the solution is heated, the water evaporates.
• It is then cooled and condensed into a
separate container.
• The salt does not evaporate and so it stays
Fractional Distillation
• Fractional distillation is a method for
separating a liquid from a mixture of two or
more liquids.
• For example, liquid ethanol can be separated
from a mixture of ethanol and water by
fractional distillation.
• This method works because the liquids in the
mixture have different boiling points.
• When the mixture is heated, one liquid
evaporates before the other.
Fractional Distillation of
Checking Purity of Substances Using Distillation

• Every pure substance has its own particular melting point and boiling
• One way to check the purity of the separated liquid is to measure its
boiling point.
• For example, pure water boils at 100°C.
• If it contains any dissolved solids, its boiling point will be higher than