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?

Expert Answers
jerichorayel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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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