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Miranda, Rein Cyril M.

Date Performed: February 16, 2016

Chem 14.1, TAB3

Date Submitted: March 17, 2016

Experiment No. 4
Determination of the Formula of a Hydrate

The primary objective of the experiment is to calculate the formula of a hydrate. A hydrate is a
compound that has a specific amount of water molecules attached to it. Hydrates have many uses in the
outside world such as water purification, being ingredients in making ointments and creams, and many
more. Most of the time, hydrates come in crystalline structures that lose their form when the attached
water molecules are evaporated through direct heating, which can be observed by a change in color. The
general formula of a hydrate is usually denoted as: Salt nH2O, where n is the ratio of the number of
moles of water molecules to the number of moles of the salt being hydrated. By determining the weight of
the water evaporated from the hydrate and the weight of the salt left in the test tube after heating, their
respective moles can be determined by multiplying the weight by their respective molar masses; thus the
formula of a hydrate can then be computed.
Keywords: Hydrate, salt, mole ratio, molar mass


water is separated. The hydration (attaching of

water molecules) and unhydration (loss of water

Compounds come in various forms and

molecules), in most cases, are reversible

properties. Our surroundings are made up of

processes that can be observed with the change

compounds that exist in the solid, liquid,

in temperature and color of the compound.

gaseous and aqueous states. There are also

Compounds that are unhydrated (which can be

compounds that are considered as hydrates.

achieved through heating, decrease in pressure,

Hydrates are compounds that have a

and other ways) are said to be anhydrous.

specific number of water molecules attached to

The objective of the experiment is to

them. Since hydrates are ionic compounds with

separate the attached water molecules attached

water trapped in their structure, they are also

from a hydrate through heating. It also aims to

called as hydrated salts.

demonstrate on how to compute for the formula

Oftentimes, hydrates are crystalline in

of a hydrate.

form that lose their structure once the combined

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In this experiment, the masses of both
substances (CuSO4 and H2O) and the change in

The weights of every substance and

apparatus used are recorded in Table 1.

color of the hydrate were noted. A 100-mL

beaker containing a cork stoppered 10-mL test

Table 1. Weights of materials used in the

tube was weighed using a top-loading balance.


One gram of copper sulfate CuSO4 crystals was

Weight (g)

placed inside the 10-mL test tube, and then

Beaker + test tube + stopper

weighed together with the aforementioned cork

Beaker + test tube + stopper

stopper and beaker.

+ CuSO4 crystals (hydrate)

The test tube containing the CuSO4

CuSO4 crystals (hydrate)


crystals was heated over an open flame until all

Beaker + test tube + stopper

the blue crystals turned into gray powder. The

+ CuSO4 powder (anhydrate)

slanted position and continuous movement of

Separated H2O


the test tube was observed to ensure complete

CuSO4 powder (anhydrate)



decomposition and prevent any temperature

The upper portion of the test tube was
heated to evaporate excess moisture. The test

The computed weights, molar masses,

and moles of the two compounds involved
(CuSO4 and H2O) are recorded in Table 2.

tube was covered again with the cork stopper

and cooled to room temperature. There was a

Table 2. The computed weights, molar masses,

need to stopper the test tube while cooling down

and moles of the compounds involved.

to prevent moisture in the air from reacting with


Molar mass

the anhydrate and become hydrated again. The







H 2O




stoppered test tube was placed again in the 100mL beaker and weighed using the top-loading

Mole (mol)

balance. The formula of the hydrate was then

calculated using the gathered data.
In addition, as a side experiment, water
was also added to the gray powder in the test
tube to return its property of being a hydrate.

Using the weights and numbers of moles

of H2O and CuSO4, the calculated formula of the
hydrate is CuSO4 5H2O.
In addition, while heating the test tube,
the light blue color of the substance was


observed to be gradually shifting to color gray;

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likewise, its moist texture was seen to be

anhydrous substance is an exothermic process

changing to a desiccated one.

that releases energy in the form of heat.

In the side experiment where water was

The systematic naming of hydrates is

added to the anhydrate (gray powder), a change

presented with this format: Salt nH2O, where n

in colorfrom gray to light bluewas noticed,

is the number of water molecules attached to the

seemingly returning to its previous hydrated

salt. The formula for computing n is presented

state. A sudden increase in temperature was also




!"#$ !! !
!"#$ !"#$

To get the mole of a substance, its


weight and molar mass must first be obtained. In

Separation of water molecules from a

hydrate is made possible through heating
because as the temperature goes up, more and
more water molecules escape from crystalline
structure of the hydrate, leaving it dry and

the case of CuSO4, its molar mass is computed

Cu = 1 x 63.55 = 63.55 g/mol

= 1 x 32.05 = 32.05 g/mol

O = 4 x 16.00 = 64.00 g/mol





molecules from a hydrate) is observed in the

experiment when the color of the substance
shifted from light blue to gray, simply because






On the other hand, hydration (attaching
of water molecules to a hydrate) is observed in
the experiment when the color of the anhydrous
substance returned from gray to light blue when
water is applied to it, due to the fact that
returning to a hydrate state can be observed






returning to its original color.

As to the sudden increase of temperature
when the substance underwent hydration, it is
because attaching water molecules to an

111.60 g/mol CuSO4

The weight of the CuSO4 powder
(anhydrate) is computed by subtracting the
weight of the separated H2O from the CuSO4
crystals (hydrate).
Wt CuSO4 (anhydrate) = 1 g 0.34 g
= 0.66 g
The number of moles of CuSO4 can
now be calculated using the obtained weight and
molar mass.
MoleCuSO4 =

!"#$% !"##!"#$!
!.!! !
!"#.!" !/!"#

= 4.135 x 10-3 mol CuSO4

On the other hand, the molar mass of
H2O is computed below:
H = 2 x 1.008 = 2.016 g/mol
O = 1 x 16.00 = 16.00 g/mol

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18.016 g/mol H2O

(e.g. exchanging beakers of different masses) as

The weight of the separated H2O is

these exchanges may have altered the weight of

computed by subtracting the weight of beaker +

the setups. The inaccuracy of the top-loading

test tube + stopper + CuSO4 powder (anhydrate)

balance used may also be considered a factor.

from the setup beaker + test tube + stopper +

Unnecessary particles may have also been

CuSO4 crystals (hydrate).

weighed in addition to the setups. There are so

Wtseparated H2O = 53.84 g 53.50 g

= 0.34 g
The number of moles of H2O is

many factors to consider in error analysis that

may have caused the error in computing the n

calculated by dividing its weight by its molar


MoleH2O =

!.!" !
!".!" !/!"#

= 1.887 x 10-2 mol H2O

Now with the number of moles of H2O
and CuSO4 computed, the n or number of
attached H2O molecules in a CuSO4 compound.

!"#$ !! !

The formula of a hydrate can be written

by the format: Salt nH2O, where n is equal to
the ratio of the number of moles of the attached
H2O molecules to the number of moles of the
salt (on which the H2O molecules are attached).
It can be therefore concluded that

!"#$ !"#$!
!.!!" ! !"!! !"# !! !
!.!"# ! !"!! !"# !"#$!

= 4.5635
The computed n is not a whole number.
It is logical to say that there is no such thing as a
fractional molecule. The value of n must always

through direct heating, the water molecules in a

hydrate will evaporate and thus be able to
determine the weight of H2O and the salt. And
consequently, the mole ratio, n, can be obtained
from the determined weights and molar masses
of H2O and the salt.

be a whole number to exist. If it is not a whole

number, the best thing to do is round it off to the
nearest ones. In this case 4.5635 can be rounded
off to 5. Thus, the formula of the hydrate sample

In addition, it can also be inferred that

there are several factors that can affect the value
of n such as inaccuracy of the weighing
equipment, addition of unnecessary particles,
and incomplete vaporization of H2O molecules.

CuSO4 5H2O
As to what may have caused the
originally computed n value can be attributed to
many factors. There may have been accidental
exchanges of apparatus during the experiment

To reduce the margin of error in






recommendations may be applied. Accuracy of

the weighing equipment must be ensured to




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alertness is essential when doing this experiment





to avoid unnoticed exchanges of equipment.

Britannica. Retrieved 17 March 2016,

Cleanliness is also a must, to keep unwanted


particles from having additional effect on



weighing materials. Complete vaporization of

water molecules must also be observed to ensure

I hereby certify that I have given a

a more accurate computation on the n value.

substantial contribution to this report and I did

Slanted and continuous moving of the test tube

not copy and/or quote from any resource

when heating it must always be done to prevent

material unless being cited as reference. I am

breakages on the test tube.

make known that failure to accomplish the

second clause would be grounds for plagiarism


and a failing grade for my final lab report.

Chang, R. (2010). Chemistry (10th ed.). New

York, USA: McGraw-Hill.

Rein Cyril M. Miranda, 2015-09645

Committee on General Chemistry. (2012).





Chemistry I. Manila: University of the

Philippines Manila.

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