The empirical formula is the simplest and lowest whole number ratio of
the different atoms in a sample of compound. To work out the empirical
formula, the value of moles of the different atoms in a compound is
needed. Mole is just simply a unit used to measure the amount of
atoms, just like how the unit "dozen" is used to measure things such
as eggs. One mole is 6Ã—10^23 atoms and this number is called the
Avogadro number. The mole can be also defined as the number of atoms
in exactly 12g of Carbon.
In this experiment, the magnesium will be heated and this magnesium
will react with the oxygen in the air to form magnesium Oxide.
1. An empty crucible and its lid were weighed on an electrical
balance. The mass of the crucible and its lid were recorded.
2. The surface of the magnesium ribbon was scraped with emery paper to
remove any magnesium oxide on the surface.
3. The magnesium was coiled and placed in the crucible. Then the lid
was replaced on the crucible, and the mass of the crucible with lid
containing the magnesium was found. The mass was recorded.
4. The safety goggle was worn. Then apparatus was setup as shown in
the diagram. The magnesium was first heated with a small blue flame
and after a several minutes with a roaring flame.
5. Every few minutes, the lid of the crucible was lifted carefully
with a tong to see if the magnesium had started to burn and also to
left some air enter the crucible to make the experiment more
6. When the magnesium had completely reacted, the crucible was heated
... middle of paper ...
...al possible source of error is that some white
fume magnesium oxide escaped from the crucible. This error can be
prevented by performing the experiment in a fume cupboard. The most
significant source of error is that some magnesium possibly reacted
with Nitrogen in the air to form Magnesium Nitride. Since 78% of air
is made up of Nitrogen, it is highly possible that some Magnesium
reacted with the Nitrogen. This made the mass of oxygen that reacted
with the magnesium low, which made the mole of magnesium higher than
the accepted value. This error can be prevented by burning the
magnesium in pure oxygen, not air; although, this is very difficult to
do in reality. One way the experiment can be improved is to perform
the experiment several times and record the average result so that a
more accurate result can be obtained.
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