# Experiment 3 Limiting Reactants

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1 3-1 Experiment 3 Limiting Reactants Introduction: Most chemical reactions require two or more reactants. Typically, one of the reactants is used up before the other, at which time the reaction stops. The chemical that is used up is called the limiting reactant while the other reactant is present in excess. If both reactants are present in exactly the right amount to react completely, without either in excess, the amounts of reactants are said to be in a stoichiometric ratio to each other. The stoichiometric ratio is the mole ratio of the reactants, or reactants to products, as determined by the coefficients in the balanced chemical equation. Since the limiting reactant will determine the amount of product that can be produced during a reaction, it is important to be able to calculate which reactant is the limiting reactant. There are several ways to do this, but each starts with a balanced chemical equation so that the stoichiometry of the reaction is known. For example, the balanced equation for the synthesis of aluminum chloride shows that two moles of aluminum react with three moles of chlorine gas to produce two moles of the aluminum chloride product: 2Al(s) + 3Cl 2 (g) 2AlCl 3 (s) If the reaction is carried out with g of aluminum and g of chlorine, the reaction will be observed to stop when the chlorine runs out, even though there is a greater mass of chlorine. Thus, chlorine is the limiting reactant. To see why this is so, the mass of each reactant must first be converted to moles using the formula masses. This is done by the first conversion factor in the example below. The second conversion factor multiplies the moles of each reactant by the stoichiometric ratio relating moles of product to moles of reactant. Finally, the third conversion factor changes moles of product into grams of product formed from the given amounts of each reactant. This method of determining limiting reactants allows each reactant to be related to the same product to determine which will result in the least amount of the product formed. The reactant that does this is the limiting reactant. 1mol Al 2 mol AlCl g AlCl g Al = g Al 2 mol Al 1mol AlCl g AlCl3 1mol Cl 2 mol AlCl g AlCl g Cl g Cl 2 3 mol Cl 2 1mol AlCl = 188.1g AlCl 2 3 As illustrated above, g of Cl 2 produces only g of AlCl 3, as compared to g of AlCl 3 from g of Al. Therefore, Cl 2 is the limiting reactant. Note that this result would also be obtained by comparison of the moles of AlCl 3 produced.

2 3-2 It is particularly beneficial to determine the limiting reactant this way if the theoretical yield is also desired. The theoretical yield is the amount of product that will be obtained if all the limiting reactant is converted to product. The theoretical yield must therefore be calculated based upon the limiting reactant, as no additional product can be formed once it has been used up. The limiting reactant is related to the product using the stoichiometry of the balanced equation. In the example above, since Cl 2 is the limiting reactant and it could form g of AlCl 3 product, that will be the theoretical yield for the reaction. Of course, in practice this yield is rarely attained. There are many potential losses of the product during its collection after a reaction and non-product forming side reactions usually occur as well. The actual experimentally measured yield of the product is expressed as a percentage of the theoretical yield and is called the actual percent yield or just percent yield. Actual Yield % Yield = 100 Theoretical Yield If, for the example above, reacting g of Al with g of Cl 2 resulted in an actual yield of AlCl 3 of just grams, the percent yield would be 72.04% g % Yield = 100 = 72.04% 188.1g Both the theoretical yield and the actual yield must be in the same units so that the % yield is a unitless quantity. However, these yield units need not be only grams; the amount can also be expressed in moles, volume, or concentration of product (See the following section). Molarity: The amount of solute present in a given volume of solution is called concentration. There are several units for concentration but the most often used is molarity in which the amount of solute is given in moles and the volume in liters of solution. A one molar solution is defined as a solution having a concentration of 1 mole of solute per liter of solution and is abbreviated 1 M. Molarity ( M ) = mol solute L solution When solutions have a concentration given in molarity, the moles of solute in any sample of the solution is directly related to the volume of that solution. For example, if 20.2 ml of a M reactant solution is used for a reaction, the moles of that reactant can be calculated from the definition of molarity mol mol 20.2 ml mol M = = so that = mol L 1000 ml 1000 ml Therefore 20.2 ml of the solution contains mol of the solute.

3 3-3 Reaction to Produce the Gas, H 2 : The objective of this experiment is to discover how varying the relative amounts of reactants affects the amount of product produced in a chemical reaction, and thus confirm the concept of limiting reactants. You will use varying masses of magnesium metal while holding the hydrochloric acid concentration and volume constant and observing the pressure of hydrogen gas produced during each run. Under the conditions of the experiment, the pressure of H 2 (g) is directly related to the amount in moles of H 2 (g) produced by the reaction. The balanced equation for the reaction is: Mg(s) + 2HCl(aq) MgCl 2 (aq) + H 2 (g) To save time and achieve more results for use in the analysis, this experiment will be a class data-pooling project. You will run trials on two lengths of magnesium ribbon (each done in duplicate), and then you will combine your data and results with fellow classmates who will run trials on different amounts of magnesium. Your instructor will construct the table shown below on the chalkboard. Two lengths of Mg ribbon will be assigned to each team starting with team 1 and working down the list. After teams have determined the average of the mass of the Mg samples and the average of the pressure of H 2 produced for each of their two lengths, they will enter the values in the table. Since the volume of HCl is the same for all runs at 3.0 ml, it is not necessary to enter that value. Team # length (cm) mass (mg) P(H 2 ) (torr) length (cm) mass (mg) P(H 2 ) (torr) Students must transfer the data entered by all teams in the above table into a similar table in their lab notebooks before getting their instructor s initials in their lab notebooks. You will need to know that when collecting a gas over an aqueous solution, in this case H 2 over aqueous HCl, the collected gas contains H 2 O vapor. The gas in the flask at the end of the reaction will also contain the air initially in the Erlenmeyer flask. The total gas pressure measured by the Vernier probe will thus be the sum of the three component gases in the flask. Therefore the pressure of the hydrogen gas must be calculated using the asterisked equation shown under the data table. The greater the pressure of H 2 gas calculated for reactions carried out in the same way, the greater the amount of H 2 produced.

4 3-4 You should keep this question in mind while performing the experiment: If, in a series of experiments, you use increasing amounts of magnesium metal while holding the amount of HCl constant, will the limiting reactant for the reaction change and, if so, how will this change affect the pressure of H 2 gas produced in the series of experiments? Reaction to Produce the Solid, Ca(OH) 2 : In a separate reaction of calcium chloride and potassium hydroxide (performed in Part B of this experiment), you will calculate the limiting reagent, theoretical yield, and percent yield after collection of the calcium hydroxide product. The balanced reaction is shown below. CaCl 2 (aq) + 2KOH(aq) Ca(OH) 2 (s) + 2KCl(aq) After separating the Ca(OH) 2 (s) formed from the reaction mixture, you will be able to determine the mass of Ca(OH) 2 (s) and compare it to the theoretical yield to find the percent yield for the reaction. Pre-Laboratory Notebook: Provide a title, purpose, both balanced chemical reactions, a brief summary of the procedure, and table of reagents and products such as the following: Table of Chemicals Used: Compound Formula Mass, (g/mol) Hazards Magnesium, Mg Hydrochloric acid, HCl Magnesium chloride, MgCl 2 Hydrogen, H 2 Calcium chloride, CaCl 2 Potassium hydroxide, KOH Calcium hydroxide, Ca(OH) 2 Potassium chloride, KCl Also, before coming to lab, create a data table in your notebook similar to the one below: Run Amount of Mg (mg) Amount of HCl (ml) Highest Pressure, P total (torr) Initial Pressure, P init (torr) Temperature ( C) P H2O (torr) from table below P H 2 (torr)* * P = P P H total init P 2 H2O

6 3-6 must not be disconnected. Downward pressure should be applied to ensure that the stopcock is securely attached to the feed through and that the feed throughs are securely in place in the stopper. When the stopper is firmly in place, it should not be more than halfway below the lip of the flask Figure 1. Apparatus for reacting Mg and HCl to form H 2 (g). 5. With the completely depressed syringe screwed onto the stopcock, retract the plunger to the 20 ml mark to remove air from the flask and then close the stopcock. The pressure should be reduced to about 520 torr. 6. Unscrew the stopcock and depress the plunger completely. Screw the stopcock back on to the syringe. Then OPEN the stopcock and withdraw another 20 ml air from the flask, and then CLOSE the stopcock. This should lower the pressure to ~450 torr. Repeat this process until the pressure in the flask is about 350 torr. With the stopcock remaining closed, check that the pressure is not increasing more than about 3 torr in 3 minutes, indicating reasonably secure seals. 7. Unscrew the syringe and draw up 3.0 ml of HCl solution from the beaker into the 20 ml syringe. Note: It is good practice to add more than 3 ml initially. If there are significant air bubbles in the syringe, point the syringe upwards to get the air at the tip of the syringe and carefully discharge a small amount of the air and acid into a paper towel. Then point the syringe downward and depress the plunger, releasing excess HCl back into its beaker, until the volume in the syringe is 3.0 ml. Read the volume at the front edge of the inside black ring on the piston of the syringe as shown in Figure 1. Connect the syringe onto the two-way valve on the white stopper with a twisting motion to tighten it in place.

8 3-8 additional de-ionized water to the 30 ml mark on the beaker. Swirl each beaker until the solid reactants have dissolved completely. 3. Pour the two aqueous solutions together and mix well with a stir rod. A white precipitate will form almost immediately, but allow the solution to sit for a few minutes to ensure a complete reaction. 4. Measure and record the mass of a piece of filter paper. Collect the Ca(OH) 2 precipitate onto the paper by performing a gravity filtration. 5. Remove the filter paper from the funnel and place it in a labeled weigh boat to dry. After at least one day, you can weigh the dried filter paper plus product during any ongoing laboratory period prior to your next scheduled lab period. Results and Discussion: Part A: How Much Is Too Much? 1 1. Is the limiting reagent the same throughout the sequence of experiments with different masses of Mg? Explain your answer based on the Excel plot of P(H 2 ) vs. mass Mg. 2. Initially, what happens to the pressure of hydrogen gas collected as the mass of magnesium metal is increased? Would you expect this trend continue indefinitely? Explain your answer based on the Excel plot of P(H 2 ) vs. mass Mg. 3. Which starting reactant is limiting when the mass of magnesium metal is 50 mg? Which starting reactant is limiting when the mass of magnesium metal is 20 mg? Explain your answer based on the Excel plot of P(H 2 ) vs. mass Mg. 4. When using 3.0 ml of 1.0 M HCl to react with magnesium metal, at what mass of magnesium (in mg) are the two reactants in a stoichiometric ratio to each other? Show your calculation to determine this mass of Mg. What happens to the class plot at this particular mass of magnesium? 5. Would it be possible to run a chemical reaction with no single limiting reagent? Why or why not?

9 3-9 Lab Report Outline for Limiting Reactants Graded Sections Percent of grade Pre Lab 10 In Lab Data table for runs Calculations of P(H 2 ), torr 5 Calculations of averages of masses and P(H 2 ), torr 5 Post Lab A. Mg + HCl reaction: Results and Discussion questions Microsoft Excel graph 10 B. CaCl 2 + KOH reaction: (First restate your key data) DATA: Mass KOH: g, Mass CaCl 2 2H 2 O: g, Mass dry filter: g; Mass dry filter plus Ca(OH) 2 : g; 5 1. Calculation of moles of CaCl 2 (recall CaCl 2 2H 2 O was used) and KOH Determination of limiting reagent and grams Ca(OH) 2 in theoretical yield Calculation of actual yield of Ca(OH) 2 in grams Calculation of actual % yield Experiment #3 How Much is Too Much? Ram Lamba, Shiva Sharma, and Baird W. Lloyd, in Constructing Chemical Concepts through a Study of Metals and Metal Ions, J. Chem. Ed. 74 (1997),

10 3-10

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