Empirical Formula Lab Report Essay

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Empirical Formula of Magnesium Oxide - Lab Report
Background Information/Introduction: The aim of this lab is to determine the empirical formula of magnesium oxide by converting magnesium to magnesium oxide. As an alkali earth metal, magnesium reacts violently when heated with oxygen to produce magnesium oxide and magnesium nitride as a byproduct. In order to obtain only magnesium oxide, distilled water was added so that magnesium nitride will react and convert to magnesium hydroxide. Further heating then oxidizes all of the magnesium into magnesium oxide. After the reaction is finished, the percentage composition of each element in the product can be found and used to calculate the empirical formula, which is the lowest whole number ratio
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But the difference was no bigger than 0.08, and after the values were rounded the same empirical formula was deduced. So the experiment can be concluded as successful.
Evaluation:
The method used was simple and easy to follow; however, it did not include how much oxygen was needed to react completely. Also it didn 't mention what magnesium oxide looked like after it finished reacting, so it was a guesswork of determining whether the reaction was finished or not. The data was handled accurately, values clearly labeled and calculated in the correct procedure.
The procedure of reacting magnesium with oxygen was most likely the source of error. It is possible that the magnesium strip had not completely reacted with oxygen yet when I took the crucible off the burner and dropped distilled water into it.
To improve this experiment, there could be better Bunsen burners: for some students, the fire was not strong enough so the magnesium strip did not glow and react. Also, there could be description or a standard time of how much oxygen should react with magnesium so that the exact mass of magnesium oxide could be

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