Precipitates: An Investigation of Solubility and Precipitation

Precipitates An Investigation of Solubility and Precipitation
Posted on 02/08/2016
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On Thursday – February 4th, 2016 Mr. Novak’s chemistry classes participated in a Virtual Lab Experiment offered by Students-2-Science on site at David Brearley High School. These Virtual Lab Experiments are conducted interactively using the classroom Smart-Board technology and an attached camera and microphone to connect the David Brearley laboratory classroom to the Students-2-Science facility in East Hanover, NJ. A chemist at the East Hanover facility led the students through the steps needed to complete the lab experiment’s procedure by interactive visual and audio demonstrations and instruction. Slide shows of related, real world, and practical applications for the technology used, processes discovered, and the products produced were also presented to the students throughout the virtual experience. In this particular virtual experience, the Brearley students investigated the processes and properties of solubility and precipitation. Precipitation is the process by which a solid solute is forced out of the solution and appears at the bottom of the container as a solid precipitate that is no longer in a solution with the solvent. Students learned the difference between reaction precipitates like the precipitation of basic copper carbonate from the reaction of copper chloride and sodium carbonate and those that result solely from a change in solution solubility by changing the solvent from water to isopropanol. They quickly learned the difference between solution and reaction precipitates. Students learned about the process of precipitation in waste water treatment and purification and about the scientists who work to provide and maintain clean tap water for us. Additionally, students learned that precipitates can sometimes be re-dissolved back into solution by adding another chemical compound and thereby carrying out another chemical reaction. An added bonus to this virtual lab experience was that there were three (3) Merck & Co., Inc. volunteers from the Rahway and Kenilworth, NJ facilities on site at David Brearley to work side by side with Mr. Novak’s chemistry students during each of the chemistry class periods. There were two volunteers that were formulation chemists and one that was an analytical chemist with a PhD in Chemistry. Each of the chemists took the time to introduce and explain their occupational requirements and their typical work day’s responsibilities.