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Cady Bright 

Chemistry 11

Creating a Precise Amount of Copper from a Reaction 

Pre-Lab Questions: 
1. What type of reaction is taking place between copper (II) sulfate and iron? See the “Types of Reactions” 
A single replacement reaction occurred in this lab because the iron replaced the copper in bonding 
with the sulfate molecule. This can be seen both the molecular and complete ionic equations shown below. 
Single replacement reactions occur when one element is being added to a (usually aqueous) compound made 
up of a similar element (in the metal/nonmetal capacity) and another molecule. The element being added, if a 
metal/cation, will replace the metal/cation in the compound. Similarly, the element being added, if a 
nonmetal/anion, will replace the nonmetal/anion in the compound.  
2. Explain what is meant by the symbols (aq) and (s) in the chemical equations. As part of your explanation 
explain how the molecular equation and the complete ionic equation for this reaction are equivalent. 
In the following chemical equations, the letters in parentheses following the notation refers to the 
state of matter of the substance. The (aq) means that the particles have been dissolved in water, while the (s) 
means that the particles are in a solid state of matter.  
Molecular: F e (s) + C uSO 4(aq) → F eSO 4(aq) + C u (s)  
2+ 2− 2+ 2−
Complete Ionic: F e (s) + C u (aq) + S O 4(aq) → F e (aq) + S O 4(aq) + C u (s)
These two equations are saying the same things, however the Complete Ionic equation is more 
specific about which particles are actually giving up electrons. In each, there are one particle of iron, one 
particle of copper, and one particle of sulfate on each side, so they are balanced. The main difference between 
the two equations is that the copper (II) sulfate and iron sulfate are split up in the complete ionic equation, but 
this is to show how the charges of each particle bring them together to form one neutrally charged molecule.  
3. Is the molecular chemical equation balanced? Explain how you know. 
The molecular equation is balanced because on each side of the equation, there are the same number 
of types of particles. On the products side, there is one atom of iron, one ion of copper (II), and one sulfate ion, 
which in turn is made up of one sulfur atom, two oxygen atoms, and two oxygen ions. On the reactants side, 
there is one iron ion, one sulfate ion (same makeup of one sulfur atom, two oxygen atoms, and two oxygen 
ions), and one atom of copper. Since the charges cancel out and there are the same number of types of 
particles on each side, there are the same number of subatomic and atomic particles on each side.  
4. Why is iron replacing/displacing copper to bond with the sulfate and create a new compound? Be as thorough as 
possible in your explanation. A good explanation will involve electrons.  
Single replacement reactions occur because the outside element is more reactive than it’s similar 
element within the compound. Conversely, if the element within the compound is more reactive than the 
element being added, a reaction will not occur.  
Figure 1: Reactivity Series 
The reactivity of any given element can be estimated by assessing how likely an 
element is to lose/gain electrons, but a reactivity series must be researched for a 
more accurate idea of how reactive an element is. For example, the reactivity series 
for cations can be seen on the left. Iron replaces copper because both are metals, and 
when the iron comes close to the copper sulfate, the copper can take electrons from 
the iron, making the iron positively charged and thus able to bond with the 
negatively charged sulfate.  
image source 
5. Calculate the amount of iron powder and copper (II) sulfate you will need to generate a theoretical yield of 
exactly 1.00 g of copper from the reaction.   
1.00g Cu  1 mole Cu  1 mole Fe  55.85g 
=  0.894g Fe 
1  63.65g  1 mole Cu  1 mole Fe 
1.00g Cu  1 mole Cu  1 mole SO​4  96.06g 
=  1.51g SO​4 
1  63.65g  1 mole Cu  1 mole SO​4 
1.51g SO​4​ + 1.00g Cu = 2​ .51g CuSO​4  
6. Imagine that you have 5.00 g of Fe and excess (more than enough) CuSO​4​. Calculate the mass of copper you will 
recover as a product at the end of the reaction assuming that all of the iron reacts and you recover all the copper. 
This value is known as the theoretical yield. 
Because the reaction occurring between the two substances is a single replacement reaction, there 
will be exactly as much copper yielded as iron went in. Therefore, however many moles of iron put in to the 
solution will be how many moles of copper come out of the reaction. 5.00 g of iron placed in copper (II) sulfate 
will yield 5.69g copper. 
5.00g Fe  1 mole Fe  1 mole Cu  63.546g Cu 
=  5.689g Cu 
1  55.845g Fe  1 mole Fe  1 mole Cu 
7. How is a chemical equation like a recipe? Why do chemists use calculations involving the mole and molar mass 
when measuring out the amounts of reactants used in a particular reaction?  
A chemical equation and a recipe have several things in common, such as ratios, different ingredients, 
and what needs to be done to the ingredients to make a specific product. Utilising units such as moles and 
molar mass to measure elements is very similar to units such as cups and tablespoons to measure flour or 
sugar. These units allow chemists and bakers alike to translate between different ingredients and elements 
when making their respective materials. Also, just like a chemical equation, the same ingredients that you put 
into a type of food will make up the food once it is finished, just in a different form.  
Table 1: Mass and Moles of Materials used 
Material  Mass (g)  Moles 
Copper (II) Sulfate  3.516  0.022 
Copper  1.400  0.022 
Sulfate  2.116  0.022 
Iron  1.229  0.022 
140 mL beaker  82.95  n/a 
Tape  .22  n/a 
Table 2: Time of Measurement vs Total Mass and Mass of Cu 
Time  Total Mass (g)  Mass of Cu (g) 
Directly after heating  87.55  4.38 
Steve's recording  84.55  1.38 
Steve's recorded w/o 
tape  84.33  1.38 
Post Lab Questions 
1. What pieces of evidence do you have that a chemical reaction took place? Be thorough. 
There is ample evidence that a chemical reaction occured in this lab. For starters, heat was added to 
the water and CuSO​4​ solution to break bonds apart, which is the first step in a chemical reaction. Then, the iron 
was added in, also a necessary step because chemical reactions requires the mixing two or more substances. 
Finally, a new substance, copper, was created, which is the last step in the chemical reaction process.  
2. Predict how the following scenarios would affect the amount of copper you believed you recovered from the 
experiment. In particular you should indicate whether the scenario would increase, decrease or not affect the 
amount of copper you believed you recovered. Provide a one or two sentence explanation of your reasoning. 
a. You don’t let the filter paper and filtrate completely dry before measuring their mass. 
This mistake would make one believe they recovered more copper than they actually did. Because the 
liquid did not evaporate and drain completely, the mass of the remaining liquid is also being measured with 
the mass of the copper.  
b. You only rinse the filtrate once. 
This mistake would also increase the mass, because there might still be some pure iron that has not 
reacted mixed in with the copper. Also, FeSO​4​ weighs a lot more than water, so it will have a bigger impact on 
the mass if a little bit is left behind. 
c. You let the reaction proceed for three minutes as opposed to the recommended ten. 
This mistake would decrease the amount of copper one thought they had recovered. By not letting the 
reaction complete fully, there will still be copper dissolved in the water that hasn’t been replaced by iron, and it 
will get washed away with the liquid when the filtrate is rinsed.  
d. You use twice as much copper (II) sulfate to make the copper (II) sulfate solution 
This will not change the amount of copper that one thought they had recovered from the experiment. 
After all, you can only get (at maximum) as many moles of copper out as moles of iron put in, so the actual 
amount of copper you get out will be unchanged. However, putting in more copper sulfate than needed 
shouldn’t be done because it is wasteful. 
3. Based on what you did in the lab, would you expect your final measurements to indicate that you recovered more 
or less than the theoretical yield of copper? You should answer this question before determining your actual 
yield. Explain your reasoning in the context of which sources of error and uncertainty you believe are most likely 
in YOUR experiment. 
I would expect our final measurements to show that we had recovered less than our theoretical yield 
(1.4g) because, other errors aside for a moment, we used only as much of each substance as we needed to be 
100% efficient, and it is practically impossible to guarantee a complete and absolute reaction with every single 
molecule, and that every single atom of copper was retained in the decanting process. I am most concerned 
that our decanting method was sloppy and did not retain as much copper as possible. Because decanting was 
the last piece of the labs we had to do for the day, our group was not as on top of our game as we could have 
been. We visually saw that we lost a small amount of copper down the drain when rinsing the substance. 
4. Calculate your percent yield of copper using the formula below. 
(1.38/1.4) * 100 = 98.57%  
5. Does your percent yield support the claims you made in answer to question 3? Explain. 
This does support the claim that I made in question three that it we probably had recovered less than 
our theoretical yield. However, the amount we lost was less than I expected it to be due to the combination of 
factors I thought would affect the mass listed above.  
6. Why should it be impossible to have a true percent yield greater than 100%? 
It is completely impossible to have a true percent yield greater than 100% because you simply cannot 
retrieve more copper than is replaced by iron. The higher reactivity of the iron is what causes the copper to be 
replaced, however when the iron is not combined with the copper sulfate, the copper cannot be displaced 
because there is nothing to break it’s bond with sulfate. Furthermore, if you have more iron than copper 
sulfate, you cannot retrieve more copper than is in the copper sulfate because copper is a pure element and 
cannot be manufactured (yet).