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Factors That Affect The Rate of a Reaction
1. To study the motion of solutions
2. To investigate the effect stirring, temperature, and particle size have on
the rate of a chemical reaction.
3. To explain the behavior of solutions and reactions using the Kinetic
one measuring cup, preferably Pyrex
1 pan boiling water
1 pitcher (or bowl) of ice water
1 pitcher (or bowl) of room-temperature water
6 effervescent tablets (for example, Alka Seltzer or generic equivalent)
stop watch or clock/watch with second hand
plastic sandwich bag
hammer or mallet
dark food coloring
We believe reactions to occur as the result of collisions between the
reacting particles. These collisions must be strong enough to begin breaking the
bonds in the reactant molecules. For this reason reactions are usually run in the
gas phase or in solution. While some reactions can occur in the solid state the
lack of motion of the particles produces very little mixing of the materials. In
addition, because the point-to-point movement (translational motion) of particles
in the solid state is minimal, the molecules do not typically have enough collision
energy to break chemical bonds, a necessary first step in any reaction. In this
experiment you will be examining the rate at which an effervescent tablet
dissolves. Then you will investigate how changing conditions, such as stirring,
increase or decrease in temperature, and particle size affect the rate of that
reaction. Finally, you will use the Kinetic Molecular Theory to help explain what
is happening on the molecular (particulate) level to produce the observed effects.
Part I: Diffusion Within Water
Fill a clear glass about ¾ full of water and set it in a spot where it will not
be disturbed. Add 2 or 3 drops of a dark food coloring (red, blue, or green, for
example) and observe what happens for about five minutes. Record your
observations. Let the glass sit undisturbed while you complete the rest of the
experiment. When you have finished the other parts of the experiment, observe
what has happened in the glass. Record your observations. If you are not sure
whether or not the change is complete leave the glass sit undisturbed for 8 to 24
hours and then make a final observation and record what you see.
Part II: Stirred vs Not Stirred
The first set of observations will be made using room-temperature
water (about 25°C) one whole effervescent tablet without any stirring. This
reaction will serve as your reference point. You will compare all the other
reactions you perform to this one. Begin by adding 1 cup of room-temperature
water to the measuring cup. Be careful in adding the correct amount of water
and fill the cup to the same mark for each experiment. Begin timing the reaction
as you drop in the effervescent tablet. When the final bit of tablet dissolves, stop
timing. Record the time it took to complete the reaction. Pour out the solution in
the cup and rinse it with clean water before proceeding to the next experiment.
Repeat the above procedure, except this time stir the solution once you
have added the effervescent tablet. Once again record the time it took from the
introduction of the tablet until all of it had dissolved. Empty and rinse the cup.
Part III Water Temperature
Repeat the above procedure, except this time use boiling water (about
100°C) instead of room-temperature water. Record the time it took for complete
reaction. Empty and rinse the cup.
Repeat the procedure using ice water (about 0.0°C). Record the time it
took for complete reaction. Empty and rinse the cup.
Part IV Particle Size
Place one effervescent tablet in the sandwich bag and crush using the
hammer or mallet. (You can crush it with the back of the teaspoon if your are
strong enough.) Fill the cup with room temperature water. Add the crushed
tablet all at once and begin timing. Stop timing when the entire tablet has
dissolved. Record the time. Empty and rinse the cup.
Break a tablet into 4 to 6 pieces. Fill the cup with room temperature water.
Add the pieces all at once and begin timing. Record the time it takes for the
tablet to dissolve completely. Empty and rinse the cup.
Email your instructor the following information: the identity of each sample
and the time it took to dissolve. You may want to plot the temperature versus
time data and see if there is any correlation between the temperature and the
amount of time the reaction takes. Include the results of your graph (the slope
and y-intercept) if you do this analysis. Finally provide the answers to the
questions below. You will need to review the Kinetic Molecular Theory before
answering the questions below. Use this theory to help you describe what must
be happening on the particulate level in order to account for the observed
behavior of these samples.
1. What do your observations about the diffusion of food color in water tell you
about the movement of particles? How is this related to the Kinetic Molecular
2. Which dissolves faster, the stirred or the unstirred sample? Write a
paragraph to explain your observations, that is, what is happening on the
molecular level to produce this effect?
3. How does temperature affect the rate of the reaction? Write a paragraph to
explain your observations.
4. How does the particle size of the sample affect the rate of the reaction? Write
a paragraph to explain your observations.
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