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Lab: Solubility and Solutions (26 points)

After you have completed this laboratory, you will be able to:

Distinguish between solute and solvent in a solution.

Determine the solubility of a substance.

Determine the polarity of a substance based on solubility.

A solution is a homogeneous mixture of two or more substances in a single phase. In a solution the
particles are uniform, creating a mixture that is the same in composition and properties throughout. The
solvent is the dissolving medium, and the solute is the substance dissolved in the solution. Solubility can
be determined by polarity. The phrase like dissolves like means that polar solvents can dissolve polar
solutes. It also means that nonpolar solvents can dissolve nonpolar solutes. Two factors that affect the
solubility of a substance are heat and agitation. If the temperature of a solution is increased, the solubility
increases. When a solute is agitated (stirred vigorously), the solubility also increases.

Purpose of This Lab

The purpose of this lab is to determine the polarity of a substance based on solubility in water, a polar

1. Why is water the universal solvent?

2. Explain why granulated sugar dissolves faster than a sugar cube.

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After reading the lab instructions but before starting the lab, record your best educated guess about
what will happen in the experiment. Write the hypothesis as an if-then statement. Give your reasons and
outline any assumptions that lead you to this hypothesis.

Experiment: Solubility and Solutions

In this experiment you will determine the solubility of four substances in water. Water is a covalent
substance with polar bonds. If the substance is nonpolar, it will not be soluble in water. It is your job to
determine which substances are polar and which are nonpolar. You will use temperature and agitation to
help you determine polarity.


cold water (0-10C)

room temperature water

hot water (95-100C)

12 clear, plastic cups

permanent marker

stirring spoon

Tbsp. spoon


1 measuring cup that measures in mL

microwave safe container



vegetable oil

3 small birthday candles

salt (NaCl)

sugar (sucrose)
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Safety Precautions
Be safe as you work on this or any lab. Follow these steps to safely conduct the experiment:

Use caution when working with hot water. Carefully transfer the hot to the plastic cup.

Use all lab materials for their intended purpose.

Getting Started

Gather all the materials for the lab.

Using a measuring cup, measure 600 mL of water into pitcher and add ice; let sit until 0-10 C.

Label 3 cups: sugar cold, sugar room temp, sugar hot.

Label 3 cups: salt cold, salt room temp,, salt hot.

Label 3 cups: wax cold, wax room temp, wax hot.

Label 3 cups: oil cold, oil room temp, oil hot.

Crush 3 wax candles into small pieces; remove wick and set pieces aside.

Using a measuring cup, measure 200 mL of cold water into all cups labeled cold.

Using a measuring cup, measure 600 mL of water into the microwave safe container.

Heat water and container in the microwave until bubbles from boiling are observed.

Using a measuring cup, measure 200 mL of hot water into each cup labeled hot.

Using a measuring cup, measure 200 mL of room temperature water into each cup labeled room

Place all cups on your workspace in the order they were labeled.

Look at the data table in the Data section.

For each box you will enter insoluble or soluble based on your observations.

1. Add one tbsp. of sugar to the sugar cold cup.
2. Gently stir the mixture. Record observation in Data Table.
3. Add one tbsp. of sugar to the sugar room temp cup.
4. Gently stir the mixture. Record observation in Data Table.
5. Add one tbsp. of sugar to the sugar hot cup.
6. Gently stir the mixture. Record observation in Data Table.
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7. For any observations that you labeled insoluble, stir those samples vigorously for 30 seconds.
8. If the sample dissolved with vigorous stirring, change insoluble to "soluble.
9. Make a note of any changes below the Data Table.
10. Repeat steps 1-9 for the salt, wax, and oil.

Disposal and Clean Up

1. Remove any wax remaining in the samples and place it in the trash.
2. Pour all samples in the sink.
3. Clean and dry all materials used.
4. Store all materials in the proper place.
5. Keep the plastic cups for reuse.

Data Table 1: Solubility and Solutions


Room Temperature


Agitation Observations:
Did any of the solutes dissolve with vigorous stirring? If so, which ones?

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1. Which substances were soluble in water?

2. Which substances were not soluble in water?

After conducting the experiment, how would you now explain the problem(s) or answer the question(s)?
Were you able to support your hypothesis or not? Be sure to base your answer on the data you collected.
Consider whether your conclusion is the only explanation for the data you collected or if there could be
alternate explanations.
Use these prompts to guide you in writing your conclusion:

Based on your analysis, which substances are polar and which are nonpolar?

Did the temperature affect how quickly the substances dissolved in water?

Did you observe any changes to insoluble substances with vigorous stirring?

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Additional Questions
1. Describe the solution process of an ionic compound in water.

2. Describe the solution process of a covalent compound in water.

3. If your experiment does not seem to match the expected results, what did you learn from the
experience? If you were to repeat the lab so that the results were closer to what was expected,
what would you do differently?

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