# Experiment 8 - Double Displacement Reactions

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1 Experiment 8 - Double Displacement Reactions A double displacement reaction involves two ionic compounds that are dissolved in water. In a double displacement reaction, it appears as though the ions are trading places, as in the following hypothetical reaction: AB (aq) + CD (aq) AD + CB Where AB exists as A + and B - ions in solution and CD exists as C + and D - ions in solution. As the ions come in contact with each other, there are six possible combinations that might conceivably cause a chemical reaction. Two of these combinations are the meeting of ions of like charge; that is, A + + C + and B - + D -. But since like charges repel, no reaction will occur with these combinations. Two other possible combinations are those of the original two compounds; that is, A + + B - and C + + D -. Since we originally had a solution containing each of these pairs of ions, they can mutually exist in the same solution; therefore they do not recombine. Thus the two possibilities for chemical reaction are the combination of each of the positive ions with the negative ion of the other compound; that is, A + + D - and C + + B -. In summary, when the solutions are mixed, these ions can all come into contact with each other, and new products could be formed. If new products are to be formed, there is only one possible combination of products: since like charges repel each other, we cannot have new compounds containing two negative ions or two positive ions. The only other possible new combination comes from the positive and negative ions of the two compounds switching places. There are three types of equations that can be written for reactions that involve ions in solution. The first type is just the regular, overall (often called molecular ) equation. An example of an overall equation for a double displacement reaction is: Na 2 CO 3 (aq) + 2 AgNO 3 (aq) 2 NaNO 3 (aq) + Ag 2 CO 3 (s) In this type of equation, the complete formulas are shown along with the appropriate state symbols. The formulas of the products are obtained as follows: 1. Determine what ions are present in the reactants, without worrying about how many of each there are. Include their charges: Na + 2- (aq), CO 3 (aq), Ag + (aq), and NO 3 -(aq). 2. Switch the ions so that the cation of the first compound is paired with the anion of the second compound, and vice versa. In this case, the Na + (aq is paired with the - NO 3 (aq), and the Ag + (aq) is paired with the CO 3 2-(aq). 3. Determine the correct formulas of the products, keeping in mind the charges on each of the ions and remembering that the overall formula of an ionic compound must have no net charge. In this case, since sodium ion has a charge of +1 and nitrate ion has a charge of 1, the correct formula of the compound sodium nitrate contains one of each ion: NaNO 3. For the other compound, silver ion has a charge of +1 and carbonate ion has a charge of 2. Therefore, two silver ions are needed to balance out the charge on one carbonate ion, and the formula of the compound is Ag 2 CO 3. 33

2 4. Write the formulas of the products, and check the solubility rules to determine the appropriate state symbol to include next to the products. In this case, according to the solubility rules, sodium nitrate is soluble, but silver carbonate is insoluble. 5. Balance the equation. Another type of chemical equation, the complete ionic equation, shows all substances in the reaction in their predominant form in solution. Since soluble ionic compounds consist of separated ions in solution, they are shown in the equation as separated ions. Likewise, any substances which exist mostly as molecules are shown as molecules in the equation. Insoluble ionic compounds are not shown ionized, since their ions are not actually separated in the solution. The complete ionic equation for the above reaction would be: 2 Na + 2- (aq) + CO 3 (aq) + 2 Ag + - (aq) + 2 NO 3 (aq) 2 Na + (aq) + 2 NO 3 -(aq) + Ag 2 CO 3(s) A third type of equation is called a net ionic equation. In a net ionic equation, only those species (ions or molecules) that actually change are shown. All of the spectator ions (those ions that are present in the solution but which are not reacting) are not written. In the above reaction, the spectator ions are sodium ion and nitrate ion: they appear on both sides of the reaction unchanged. The net ionic equation for the above reaction is therefore: CO 3 2-(aq) + 2 Ag + (aq) Ag 2 CO 3(s) A net ionic equation is not really a complete equation, since it does not give complete formulas; it is nevertheless quite useful, since it focuses attention on the main event. In the present case, the equation says the Ag + ion (from an unspecified source) combines with a CO 3 2- ion (also from an unspecified source) to form a precipitate of Ag 2 CO 3. This will happen any time these two ions are put together in the same solution. In each part of this experiment two aqueous solutions, each containing positive and negative ions, will be mixed in a test tube. You will observe whether or not a reaction occurs in each case, and predict the products. You will also practice writing different types of equations for reactions. Let us look at some examples. Example 1. When solutions of sodium chloride and silver nitrate are mixed, the equation for the hypothetical double displacement reaction is: NaCl + AgNO 3 NaNO 3 + AgCl (The formulas of the products are obtained by switching the ions.) A white precipitate is produced when these solutions are mixed. This precipitate is definite evidence of a chemical reaction. One of the two products, sodium nitrate (NaNO 3 ) or silver chloride (AgCl) is insoluble. Although the precipitate could be identified by further chemical testing, we can instead look at the solubility table to find that sodium nitrate is soluble but silver chloride is insoluble. We may then conclude that the precipitate is silver chloride and indicate this in the equation with the state symbol (s), which stands for solid. Thus the overall equation should read: NaCl (aq) + AgNO 3 (aq) NaNO 3 (aq) + AgCl (s) 34

3 The complete ionic equation for the above reaction would be: Na + (aq) + Cl - (aq) + Ag + - (aq) + NO 3 (aq) Na + (aq) + NO 3 -(aq) + AgCl (s) The net ionic equation for the above reaction (canceling out the spectator ions sodium ion and nitrate ion) is: Cl - (aq) + Ag + (aq) AgCl (s) Example 2. When solutions of sodium chloride and potassium nitrate are mixed, the equation for the hypothetical double displacement reaction is NaCl + KNO 3 KCl + NaNO 3 (The formulas of the products are obtained by switching the ions.) We get the hypothetical products by simply combining each positive ion with the other negative ion. But has there been a reaction? When we do the experiment we see no evidence of reaction. There is no precipitate formed, no gas evolved, and no obvious temperature change. Thus we must conclude that no reaction occurred. Both hypothetical products are soluble salts, so the ions are still present in solution. We can say that we simply have a solution of the four kinds of ions, Na +, Cl -, K +, and NO 3-. The situation is best expressed by changing the equation to NaCl + KNO 3 No reaction The complete ionic equation for this reaction is: Na + (aq) + Cl - (aq) + K + - (aq) + NO 3 (aq) K + (aq) + Cl - (aq) + Na + (aq) + NO 3 -(aq) There is no net ionic equation for this reaction. Since all of the ions are spectator ions, they all cancel out. Example 3. When solutions of sodium carbonate and hydrochloric acid are mixed, the equation for the hypothetical double displacement reaction is: Na 2 CO HCl 2 NaCl + H 2 CO 3 Bubbles of a colorless gas are evolved when these solutions are mixed. Although this gas is evidence of a chemical reaction, neither of the indicated products is a gas. But carbonic acid, H 2 CO 3, is an unstable compound and readily decomposes into carbon dioxide and water. H 2 CO 3 H 2 O + CO 2 (g) Therefore, CO 2 and H 2 O are the products that should be written in the equation. The original equation then becomes Na 2 CO 3 (aq) + 2 HCl (aq) 2 NaCl (aq) + H 2 O (l) + CO 2 (g) The complete ionic equation for this reaction is: 2 Na + (aq) + CO 3 2-(aq) + 2 H + (aq) + 2 Cl - (aq) 2 Na + (aq) + 2 Cl - (aq) + H 2 O (l) + CO 2 (g) The net ionic equation reaction (canceling out the spectator ions sodium ion and chloride ion) is: CO 3 2-(aq) + 2 H + (aq) H 2 O (l) + CO 2 (g) Examples of other substances that decompose to form gases are sulfurous acid (H 2 SO 3 ) and ammonium hydroxide (NH 4 OH): H 2 SO 3 (aq) H 2 O (l) + SO 2 (g) NH 4 OH (aq) H 2 O (l) + NH 3 (g) 35

4 Example 4. When solutions of sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid are mixed, the equation for the hypothetical double displacement reaction is: NaOH + HCl NaCl + H 2 O The mixture of these solutions produces no visible evidence of reaction, but on touching the test tube we notice that it feels warm. The evolution of heat is evidence of a chemical reaction. This example and Example 2 appear similar because there is no visible evidence of reaction. However, the difference is very important. In Example 2 all four ions are still uncombined. In the present example the hydrogen ions (H + ) and the hydroxide ions (OH - ) are no longer free in solution but have combined to form water. The reaction of H + (an acid) and OH - (a base) is called neutralization. The formation of the molecular compound (water) causes the reaction to occur and is the source of the heat given off. The overall balanced equation is: NaOH (aq) + HCl (aq) NaCl (aq) + H 2 O (l) Since HCl, NaOH, and NaCl are all strong electrolytes, they are all completely ionized in solution. Water, however, consists mostly of un-ionized water molecules, so it is not shown as separated ions. The complete ionic equation is: Na + (aq) + OH - (aq) + H + (aq) + Cl - (aq) Na + (aq) + Cl - (aq) + H 2 O (l) The net ionic equation (canceling out the spectator ions sodium ion and chloride ion) is: H + (aq) + OH - (aq) H 2 O (l) Water is the most common slightly ionized substance formed in double displacement reactions; other examples are acetic acid (HC 2 H 3 O 2 ) and phosphoric acid (H 3 PO 4 ). (Any weak acid is slightly ionized.) From the four examples cited we see that a double displacement reaction will occur if at least one of the following classes of substances is formed by the reaction: 1. A precipitate. 2. A gas. 3. A slightly ionized compound (a weak electrolyte). 4. A non-ionized compound (a nonelectrolyte). Useful information: there are very few inorganic strong acids. They are: HCl, HBr, HI, HNO 3, HClO 3, HClO 4, and H 2 SO 4 in its first ionization. It is helpful to commit these to memory, and assume that any other acids that you encounter are weak. The following solubility rules are helpful in predicting precipitates that might form when solutions are mixed. Solubility Rules for Ionic Compounds at 25 C 1. A compound will be soluble if it contains at least one of the following ions: Li +, Na +, K +, NH 4+, NO 3-, or C 2 H 3 O A compound containing Cl -, Br -, or I - is soluble unless the cation is Ag +, Pb 2+, or Hg Compounds that contain SO 4 2- are soluble except those sulfates that also contain Ba 2+, Ag +, Pb 2+, or Ca

5 4. Most other ionic compounds are insoluble (in other words, the amount of solute that dissolves is extremely small and will be regarded as negligible). Compounds containing S 2-, CO 3 2-, PO 4 3-, and OH - are insoluble unless the cation is one of those listed in #1 above. Safety Precautions: Wear safety goggles. Silver nitrate solutions will stain skin and clothing. If you notice any silver nitrate splashing your skin or clothing, rinse it off immediately. Silver nitrate is a colorless solution that is light-sensitive. The stains don t show up immediately, but you will see them by the next day! Stains on your skin will eventually wear off as your skin wears off; stains on your clothing will be permanent. It is therefore best to wear old clothing for this lab. Part 3 involves testing the electrical conductivity of several The electrical conductivity meter operates on 120-volt house current. To prevent electrical shock, the exposed wires of the conductivity tester are covered with a non-conducting material, but it is still possible to touch the wires accidentally. Therefore, to avoid possible severe electrical shock, make sure that you are instructed in the use of the conductivity tester in advance, and exercise caution when you use it. Slowly bring the beaker containing the solution to be tested up to the wires from below. Hold the beaker near the bottom so that your hand stays as far from the wires as possible. To be on the safe side, do not touch any part of the tester. Waste Disposal: While you are doing the experiment, pour your waste into a beaker. When you are finished with the experiment, pour the contents of the waste beaker into the INORGANIC WASTE container (with a blue label) in the fume hood. Procedure Part 1 Observing Double Displacement Reactions Each reaction in this part of the experiment (except number 12) consists of mixing equal volumes of two solutions in a test tube. Make sure the test tubes are clean and have been rinsed with deionized water and shaken dry. Use about one milliliter of each solution. It is not necessary to measure each volume accurately (why?). Record your observations at the time of mixing. Where there is no visible evidence of reaction, feel each tube, or check with a thermometer, to determine if heat is evolved. In each case where a reaction has occurred, complete and balance the overall equation, properly indicating precipitates and gases, and write the net ionic equation for the reaction. When there is no evidence of reaction, write the words no reaction as the right-hand side of the equation. 37

6 1. Mix 0.1 M sodium chloride (NaCl) and 0.1 M potassium nitrate (KNO 3 ) 2. Mix 0.1 M sodium chloride (NaCl) and 0.1 M silver nitrate (AgNO 3 ) 3. Mix 0.1 M sodium carbonate (Na 2 CO 3 ) and 6 M hydrochloric acid (HCl) 4. Mix 10% sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and 6 M hydrochloric acid (HCl) 5. Mix 0.1 M barium chloride (BaCl 2 ) and 3 M sulfuric acid (H 2 SO 4 ) 6. Mix 6 M ammonia (NH 3 ) and 3 M sulfuric acid (H 2 SO 4 ) solutions in the hood. 7. Mix 0.1 M copper (II) sulfate (CuSO 4 ) and 0.1 M zinc nitrate (Zn(NO 3 ) 2 ) 8. Mix 0.1 M sodium carbonate (Na 2 CO 3 ) and 0.1 M calcium chloride (CaCl 2 ) 9. Mix 0.1 M copper (II) sulfate (CuSO 4 ) and 0.1 M ammonium chloride (NH 4 Cl) 10. Mix 10% sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and 6 M nitric acid (HNO 3 ) 11. Mix 0.1 M iron (III) chloride (FeCl 3 ) and 10% sodium hydroxide (NaOH) 12. Add 1 g of solid sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO 3 ) to 3 ml of water and shake to dissolve. Add about 1 ml of 1 M hydrochloric acid (HCl) solution, dropwise, using a medicine dropper. Part 2 Making Predictions of Double Displacement Reactions In the hood you will find dilute solutions of NH 4 Cl, CuSO 4, NaOH, and HCl. 1. Predict which two of these solutions you could mix to produce a precipitate. Test your prediction by combining about 1 ml of each of the two solutions in a test tube or small beaker. Record the results of the test. Write the net ionic equation for the reaction. 2. Predict which two of these solutions you could mix to produce a gas. Before you test the reaction, wet a piece of red litmus paper and attach it to the bottom of a curved watch glass. Mix the two chosen solutions in a small beaker, and immediately cover the beaker with the watch glass. If ammonia gas is formed, it will reach the wet litmus paper and turn it blue (ammonia is a weak base). Record the results of the test, and write the net ionic equation for the reaction. Part 3 Conductivity Tests 1. As accurately as possible, measure out 15.0 ml of 0.1 M Ba(OH) 2 (aq) in a clean, dry 25-mL graduated cylinder. Pour this solution into a clean, dry 100-mL beaker and test its conductivity using the conductivity apparatus in the lab. Does this solution conduct electricity? 2. Rinse out the graduated cylinder with water several times with deionized water. Shake the graduated cylinder as dry as possible. Measure out 15.0 ml of 0.1 M Na 2 SO 4 (aq). Pour this solution into a separate clean, dry 100 ml beaker. Test the conductivity of this solution and record your results. 38

7 3. Pour the Ba(OH) 2 solution into the Na 2 SO 4 solution. Mix thoroughly with a clean, dry stirring rod. Test the conductivity of the resulting mixture. Write the molecular, complete ionic, and net ionic equations for the reactions that occur when you mix the solutions together. 4. Pour the used solutions into your waste beaker, and rinse both beakers and the graduated cylinders several times with deionized water. Shake them until they are as dry as possible. 5. As accurately as possible, measure out 15.0 ml of 0.1 M Ba(OH) 2 (aq) in a clean, dry 25 ml graduated cylinder. Pour this solution into a 100-mL beaker, and test its conductivity. 6. Rinse and dry the graduated cylinder as before, and measure out 15.0 ml of 0.1 M H 2 SO 4 (aq). Pour this solution into a separate clean, dry 100 ml beaker. Test the conductivity of this solution. 7. Pour the Ba(OH) 2 solution into the H 2 SO 4 solution, stir thoroughly with a clean, dry stirring rod, and then test the conductivity of the mixed Write the molecular, complete ionic, and net ionic equations for the reactions that occur when you mix the solutions together. 8. Compare the conductivity results for steps 3 and 7. Explain the difference in the results on the basis of the ionic equations you wrote. Questions 1. The formation of what four classes of substances caused double displacement reactions to occur in this experiment? 2. Write the equation for the decomposition of sulfurous acid (H 2 SO 3 ). 3. Using four criteria for double displacement reactions, together with the solubility table, predict whether a double displacement reaction will occur in each example below. If reaction will occur, complete and balance the overall equation, properly indicating gases and precipitates. Then write the net ionic equation for the reaction. If you believe no reaction will occur, write no reaction as the righthand side of the equation. All reactants are in aqueous solution. a. K 2 S + CuSO 4 b. KOH + NH 4 Cl c. (NH 4 ) 2 SO 4 + NaCl d. CoCl 3 + NaOH e. Na 2 CO 3 + HNO 3 4. Using the solubility rules, predict the products and write the balanced overall equations (including phase symbols) for the following reactions. Write the net ionic equations. a. Mix aqueous cobalt (III) nitrate with aqueous sodium sulfide. b. Mix aqueous phosphoric acid with aqueous potassium hydroxide. c. Mix aqueous ammonium phosphate with aqueous calcium chloride. d. Mix aqueous potassium bicarbonate with aqueous hydrochloric acid. 39

8 5. In part 3, steps 5-7 of this experiment, you tested the conductivity of aqueous barium hydroxide, aqueous sulfuric acid, and a equimolar mixture of the two. Why is it that barium hydroxide and sulfuric acid each conducted electricity, but the mixture of the two did not? Explain thoroughly. 40

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