Without knowing its chemical formula, describe how to determine whether an unknown substance is ionic or covalent, metallic or network covalent and polar or non polar?

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jerichorayel | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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There are some techniques in determining the characteristic of unknown material even without knowing their chemical formula. 

  • Conductivity test: 

Dissolve the unknown compounds in water. 
-If it dissolves and conducts electricity, it is ionic.
-If it dissolves but doesn't conduct electricity, it is covalent.

As solid:
-If it conducts electricity in its solid state, it is metallic.
-If it doesn't conduct electricity, it is a network covalent.

  • Solubility Test:

Dissolve the unknown compounds in water (polar solvent) and/or oil (non-polar solvent).
-If it dissolves in water but not in oil, it is a polar molecule
-If it doesn't dissolve in water but dissolves in oil, it is a non-polar molecule

 

 

 

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