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A student in the laboratory finds three bottles with no labels. Each bottle contains a...

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adilyas | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:05 PM via web

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A student in the laboratory finds three bottles with no labels. Each bottle contains a white solid powder. Using qualitative analysis, design an experiment the student could perform to determine which elements are present in each of the bottles. Be sure to include posible outcomes.

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tjbrewer | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted October 25, 2013 at 9:59 PM (Answer #1)

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I would label the bottles A, B and C.  I would use a sample of each material to make a solution, and test each solution for condutivity.  Ionic compounds form solutions that conduct electricity, covalent compounds do not.  It might also be possible that the compound(s) were not water soluble.b

I could mix samples of each solution with each other and observe if a reaction occurs, what kind of reaction it is, and whether I can recognize any of the products. 

I could also test samples of each solution with indicators, e.g. litmus to see if they are acids or alkalines, or test for the presence of specific metals or polyatomic ions.  Based on which elements trigger displacement reactions with each solution.  Without knowing more about the compounds, I can only speculate as to what the reactions would be. 

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