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Types of solution

Solutions are homogeneous mixtures, which means that the components form a
single phase. The major component is called the solvent, and the minor components
are called the solute. If both components in a solution are 50 percent, the term
solute can be assigned to either component. When gas or solid materials dissolve in
a liquid, it is referred to as a solute. When two liquids dissolve in each other, the
major component is called the solvent and the minor component is called the solute
For gaseous solutions, if the solvent is a gas, the gases are the solute that can only
be dissolved under a given set of conditions. An example of a gaseous solution is
air. If the solvent is a liquid, gases, liquids and solids can be dissolved. An example
of a liquid solution is an alcoholic beverage, such as vodka a solution of ethanol
and water. If the solvent is a solid, gases, liquids and solids can likewise be
dissolved. An example of a solid solution is an alloy, such as bronze or brass.

Factors affecting solubility

Take some sand and try to dissolve it in a cup of water. What happens? The sand will
not dissolve; in other words, it is insoluble. Insoluble means that the substance does
not dissolve. If you were to take a teaspoon of table salt or sugar and conduct the
same experiment, the result would be different. Salt and sugar are both soluble in
water. When a substance is soluble, it means that the substance has the ability to
dissolve in another substance.
Solubility is the maximum amount of a substance that will dissolve in a given
amount of solvent at a specific temperature. There are two direct factors that affect
solubility: temperature and pressure. Temperature affects the solubility of both
solids and gases, but pressure only affects the solubility of gases. Surface area does
not affect how much of a solute will be dissolved, but it is a factor in how quickly or
slowly the substance will dissolve. In this section, we will explore all three of these
factors and how they affect the solubility of solids and gases.
The Effect of Temperature on Solubility
Temperature has a direct effect on solubility. For the majority of ionic solids,
increasing the temperature increases how quickly the solution can be made. As the
temperature increases, the particles of the solid move faster, which increases the
chances that they will interact with more of the solvent particles. This results in
increasing the rate at which a solution occurs.
Temperature can also increase the amount of solute that can be dissolved in a
solvent. Generally speaking, as the temperature is increased, more solute particles
will be dissolved. For instance, when you add table sugar to water, a solution is
quite easily made. When you heat that solution and keep adding sugar, you find

that large amounts of sugar can be added as the temperature keeps rising. The
reason this occurs is because as the temperature increases, the intermolecular
forces can be more easily broken, allowing more of the solute particles to be
attracted to the solvent particles. There are other examples, though, where
increasing the temperature has very little effect on how much solute can be
dissolved. Table salt is a good example: you can dissolve just about the same
amount of table salt in ice water as you can in boiling water.
For all gases, as the temperature increases, the solubility decreases. The kinetic
molecular theory can be used to explain this phenomenon. As the temperature
increases, the gas molecules move faster and are then able to escape from the
liquid. The solubility of the gas, then, decreases.
Looking at the graph below, ammonia gas, NH3, shows a sharp decline in solubility
as the temperature increases, whereas all of the ionic solids show an increase in
solubility as the temperature increases.

A graph for the solubility of oxygen gas, O2, would be very similar to the one for
NH3(g); in other words, oxygen gas would decrease in solubility as the temperature
rises. Conversely, the colder the temperature, the greater amount of O2(g) would
be dissolved.
The Effect of Pressure on Solubility
The second factor, pressure, affects the solubility of a gas in a liquid but never of a
solid dissolving in a liquid. When pressure is applied to a gas that is above the
surface of a solvent, the gas will move into the solvent and occupy some of the
spaces between the particles of the solvent. A good example is carbonated soda.
Pressure is applied to force the CO2 molecules into the soda. The opposite is also
true. When the gas pressure is decreased, the solubility of that gas is also
decreased. When you open a can of carbonated beverage, the pressure in the soda
is lowered, so the gas immediately starts leaving the solution. The carbon dioxide
stored in the soda is released, and you can see the fizzing on the surface of the
liquid. If you leave an open can of soda out for a period of time, you may notice the
beverage becoming flat because of the loss of carbon dioxide.
This gas pressure factor is expressed in Henrys law. Henrys law states that, at a
given temperature, the solubility of a gas in a liquid is proportional to the partial
pressure of the gas above the liquid. An example of Henrys Law occurs in scuba
diving. As a person dives into deep water, the pressure increases and more gases
are dissolved into the blood. While ascending from a deep-water dive, the diver
needs to return to the surface of the water at a very slow rate to allow for all of the
dissolved gases to come out of the blood very slowly. If a person ascends too

quickly, a medical emergency may occur due to the gases coming out of blood too
quickly. This is called having the bends.
This video serves a blackboard lecture on the factors that affect solubility (6c): (4:33).

The Effect of Surface Area on the Rate of Dissolving

One other factor to consider affects the rate of solubility. If we were to increase the
surface area of a solid, then it would have been broken into smaller pieces. We
would do this to increase how quickly the solute would dissolve in solution. If you
were to dissolve sugar in water, a sugar cube will dissolve slower than an equal
amount of tiny pieces of sugar crystals. The combined surface area of all of the
sugar crystals have a much greater surface area than the one sugar cube and will
have more contact with the water molecules. This allows the sugar crystals to
dissolve much more quickly.
If you were working in a lab, you might be asked to make a solution of copper(II)
sulfate. Copper(II) sulfate comes in several forms: large blue crystals and fine blue
crystals (see Figure below). When you set equal amounts of both forms in test tubes
filled with 10 mL of water, you will notice after 5 minutes that more of the fine
crystals will have dissolved (and the solution will be a darker blue) than the test
tube with the large crystals. You can also take two samples of the fine crystals and
put them into separate test tubes. This time, place a stopper on one of the test
tubes and carefully shake it while letting the other test tube sit still. By shaking, you
are again increasing the surface area by increasing the how much of the fine
crystals will come in contact with the water. The result will still be the same as
before: the test tube with the greater surface area will go into solution at a faster
rate. Note, however, that although maximum solubility is achieved more quickly
with greater surface area, the concentration of the solute at maximum solubility will
be exactly the same.

Forms of copper(II) sulfate pentahydrate.

Lesson Summary
When a substance can dissolve in another it is said to be soluble; when it cannot, it
is said to be insoluble

Temperature affects the solubility of both gases and solids. With solids, generally
the solubility increases with increasing temperature. With gases, the solubility tends
to decrease with increasing temperature.
Pressure only affects the solubility of gases. Henrys law states that, at a given
temperature, the solubility of a gas in a liquid is proportional to the partial pressure
of the gas above the liquid.
Increasing the surface area increases the rate of solubility of a solid because a
larger number of molecules have contact with the solvent.

Concentrations of Solutions
There are a number of ways to express the relative amounts of solute and solvent in a
solution. This page describes calculations for four different units used to express
Percent Composition (by mass)
Mole Fraction
Percent Composition (by mass)
We can consider percent by mass (or weight percent, as it is sometimes called) in two
The parts of solute per 100 parts of solution.
The fraction of a solute in a solution multiplied by 100.

We need two pieces of information to calculate the percent by mass of a solute in a

The mass of the solute in the solution.
The mass of the solution.
Use the following equation to calculate percent by mass:

Molarity tells us the number of moles of solute in exactly one liter of a solution. (Note
that molarity is spelled with an "r" and is represented by a capital M.)
We need two pieces of information to calculate the molarity of a solute in a solution:
The moles of solute present in the solution.
The volume of solution (in liters) containing the solute.
To calculate molarity we use the equation:

Molality, m, tells us the number of moles of solute dissolved in exactly one kilogram
of solvent. (Note that molality is spelled with two "l"'s and represented by a lower
case m.)
We need two pieces of information to calculate the molality of a solute in a solution:
The moles of solute present in the solution.
The mass of solvent (in kilograms) in the solution.
To calculate molality we use the equation:

Mole Fraction
The mole fraction, X, of a component in a solution is the ratio of the number of moles
of that component to the total number of moles of all components in the solution.
To calculate mole fraction, we need to know:
The number of moles of each component present in the solution.
The mole fraction of A, XA, in a solution consisting of A, B, C, ... is calculated using
the equation:

To calculate the mole fraction of B, XB, use:


1 Introducing solutions

Solutions are homogeneous (single-phase) mixtures of two or

morecomponents. For convenience, we often refer to the majority
component as the solvent; minority components are solutes. But
there is really no fundamental distinction between them.
Details about the special factors that affect the rate of reactions carried out in solutions (as
opposed to the gas phase) are describedhere.

Solutions play a very important role in Chemistry because they allow

intimate and varied encounters between molecules of different kinds, a
condition that is essential for rapid chemical reactions to occur. Several
more explicit reasons can be cited for devoting a significant amount of
effort to the subject of solutions:

For the reason stated above, most chemical reactions that are carried out
in the laboratory and in industry, and that occur in living organisms, take
place in solution.
Solutions are so common; very few pure substances are found in nature.

Solutions provide a convenient and accurate means of introducing known

small amounts of a substance to a reaction system. Advantage is taken of this
in the process of titration, for example.

The physical properties of solutions are sensitively influenced by the

balance between the intermolecular forces of like and unlike (solvent and
solute) molecules. The physical properties of solutions thus serve as useful
experimental probes of these intermolecular forces.

We usually think of a solution as a liquid made by adding a gas, a solid

or another liquid solute in a liquid solvent. Actually, solutions can exist
as gases and solids as well. Gaseous mixtures don't require any special
consideration beyond what you learned about Daltons Law earlier in
the course.
Solid solutions are very common; most natural minerals and many
metallic alloys are solid solutions.
Still, it is liquid solutions that we most frequently encounter and must
deal with. Experience has taught us that sugar and salt dissolve readily
in water, but that oil and water dont mix. Actually, this is not strictly
correct, since all substances have at least a slight tendency to dissolve
in each other. This raises two important and related questions: why do
solutions tend to form in the first place, and what factors limit their
mutual solubilities?

2 Understanding concentrations
Concentration is a general term that expresses the quantity of solute
contained in a given amount of solution. Various ways of expressing
concentration are in use; the choice is usually a matter of convenience
in a particular application. You should become familiar with all of them.

How concentrations are expressed

Parts-per concentration

In the consumer and industrial world, the most common method of

expressing the concentration is based on the quantity of solute in a
fixed quantity of solution. The quantities referred to here can be
expressed in weight, in volume, or both (i.e., the weight of solute in a
given volume of solution.) In order to distinguish among these
possibilities, the abbreviations (w/w), (v/v) and (w/v) are used.
In most applied fields of Chemistry, (w/w) measure is often used, and
is commonly expressed as weight-percent concentration, or simply
"percent concentration". For example, a solution made by dissolving
10 g of salt with 200 g of water contains "1 part of salt per 20 g of
"Cent" is the Latin-derived prefix relating to the number 100
(L. centum), as in century orcentennial. It also denotes 1/100th (from L. centesimus) as
incentimeter and the monetary unitcent.

It is usually more convenient to express such concentrations as "parts

per 100", which we all know as "percent". So the solution described
above is a "5% (w/w) solution" of NaCl in water.
In clinical chemistry, (w/v) is commonly used, with weight expressed in grams
and volume in mL (see Problem Example 1 below).
There is an interesting Wikipedia article on the history and usage of the percent sign %. And
then there are the signs (permille) and (permyriad). For an overview of the uses and
magnitudes of parts-per notation, see here.

Problem Example 1

The Normal Saline solution used in medicine for nasal irrigation, wound cleaning and
intravenous drips is a 0.91% (w/v) solution of sodium chloride in water. How would you
prepare 1.5 L of this solution?
Solution: The solution will contain 0.91 g of NaCl in 100 mL of water, or 9.1 g in 1 L. Thus
you will add (1.5 9.1g) = 13.6 g of NaCl to 1.5 L of water.

Percent means parts per 100; we can also use parts per thousand
(ppt) for expressing concentrations in grams of solute per kilogram of
solution. For more dilute solutions, parts per million (ppm) and parts
per billion (109; ppb) are used. These terms are widely employed to
express the amounts of trace pollutants in the environment.
Problem Example 2

Describe how you would prepare 30 g of a 20 percent (w/w) solution of KCl in water.

Solution: The weight of potassium chloride required is 20% of the total weight of the
solution, or 0.2 (3 0 g) = 6.0 g of KCl. The remainder of the solution
(30 6 = 24) g consists of water. Thus you would dissolve 6.0 g of KCl in 24 g of water.

Weight/volume and volume/volume basis

It is sometimes convenient to base concentration on a fixed volume,
either of the solution itself, or of the solvent alone. In most instances,
a 5% by volume solution of a solid will mean 5 g of the solute
dissolved in 100 ml of the solvent.
Problem Example 3

Fish, like all animals, need a supply of oxygen, which they obtain from oxygen dissolved in
the water. The minimum oxygen concentration needed to support most fish is around 5 ppm
(w/v). How many moles of O2 per liter of water does this correspond to?
Solution: 5 ppm (w/v) means 5 grams of oxygen in one million mL (1000 L) of water, or 5
mg per liter. This is equivalent to (0.005 g) / (32.0 g mol1)
= 1.6 104 mol.

If the solute is itself a liquid, volume/volume measure usually refers to

the volume of solute contained in a fixed volume
of solution (not solvent). The latter distinction is important because
volumes of mixed substances are not strictly additive.
These kinds of concentration measure are mostly used in commercial
and industrial applications.
The "proof" of an alcoholic beverage is the (v/v)-percent, multiplied by two; thus a 100proof vodka has the same alcohol concentration as a solution made by adding sufficient
water to 50 ml of alcohol to give 100 ml of solution.

Molarity: mole/volume basis

This is the method most used by chemists to express concentration,
and it is the one most important for you to master. Molar
concentration (molarity) is the number of moles of solute per liter of
The important point to remember is that the volume of the solution is different
from the volume of the solvent; the latter quantity can be found from the
molarity only if the densities of both the solution and of the pure solvent are
known. Similarly, calculation of the weight-percentage concentration from the
molarity requires density information; you are expected to be able to carry out
these kinds of calculations, which are covered in most texts.

Problem Example 4

How would you make 120 mL of a 0.10 M solution of potassium hydroxide in water?
Solution: The amount of KOH required is (0.120 L) (0.10 mol L1) = 0.012 mol. The
molar mass of KOH is 56.1 g, so the weight of KOH required is
(.012 mol) (56.1 g mol1) = 0.67 g. We would dissolve this weight of KOH in a volume of
water that is less than 120 mL, and then add sufficient water to bring the volume of the
solution up to 120 mL.
Comment: if we had simply added the KOH to 120 mL of water, the molarity of the resulting solution would
not be the same. This is because volumes of different substances are not strictly additive when they are
mixed. Without actually measuring the volume of the resulting solution, its molarity would not be known.

Problem Example 5

Calculate the molarity of a 60-% (w/w) solution of ethanol (C2H5OH) in water whose density
is 0.8937 g mL1.
Solution: One liter of this solution has a mass of 893.7 g, of which
0.60 (893.7 g) = 536.2 g consists of ethanol. The molecular weight of C2H5OH is 46.0, so
the number of moles of ethanol present in one liter (that is, the molarity) will be

Normality and equivalents: you can probably forget about them!

Normality is a now-obsolete concentration measure based on the number
ofequivalents per liter of solution. Although the latter term is now also officially
obsolete, it still finds some use in clinical- and environmental chemistry and in
electrochemistry. Both terms are widely encountered in pre-1970 textbooks and
The equivalent weight of an acid is its molecular weight divided by the number of
titratable hydrogens it carries. Thus for sulfuric acid H2SO4, one mole has a mass of 98
g, but because both hydrogens can be neutralized by strong base, its equivalent weight
is 98/2 = 49 g. A solution of 49 g of H2SO4 per liter of water is 0.5 molar, but also "1
normal" (1N = 1 eq/L). Such a solution is "equivalent" to a 1M solution of HCl in the
sense that each can be neutralized by 1 mol of strong base.
The concept of equivalents is extended to salts of polyvalent ions; thus a 1Msolution of
FeCl3 is said to be "3 normal" (3 N) because it dissociates into three moles/L of chloride

Although molar concentration is widely employed, it suffers from one serious defect: since
volumes are temperature-dependent (substances expand on heating), so are molarities; a

0.100 M solution at 0 C will have a smaller concentration at 50 C. For this reason,

molarity is not the preferred concentration measure in applications where physical
properties of solutions and the effect of temperature on these properties is of importance.

Mole fraction: mole/mole basis

This is the most fundamental of all methods of concentration measure,
since it makes no assumptions at all about volumes. The mole fraction
of substance i in a mixture is defined as

in which nj is the number of moles of substance j, and the summation

is over all substances in the solution. Mole fractions run from zero
(substance not present) to unity (the pure substance).
The sum of all mole fractions in a solution is, by definition, unity:

Problem Example 6

What fraction of the molecules in a 60-% (w/w) solution of ethanol in water consist of H2O?
Solution: From the previous problem, we know that one liter of this solution contains 536.2
g (11.6 mol) of C2H5OH. The number of moles of H2O is
( (893.7 536.2) g) / (18.0 g mol1) = 19.9 mol. The mole fraction of water is thus

Thus 63% of the molecules in this solution consist of water, and 37% are ethanol.

In the case of ionic solutions, each kind of ion acts as a separate

Problem Example 7

Find the mole fraction of water in a solution prepared by dissolving 4.50 g of CaBr 2 in 84.0
mL of water.
Solution: The molar mass of CaBr2 is 200 g, and 84.0 mL of H2O has a mass of very close
to 84.0 g at its assumed density of 1.00 g mL1. Thus the number of moles of CaBr2 in the
solution is (4.50 g) / (200 g/mol) = .0225 mol.

Because this salt is completely dissociated in solution, the solution will contain 0.022 mol of
Ca2+ and (2 .0225) = .067 mol of Br. The number of moles of water is (84 g) / (18 g
mol1) = 4.67 mol.
The mole fraction of water is then
(.467 mol) / (0.067 + 4.67) mol = .467 / 4.74 = 0.98
Thus for every 100 particles in the solution, 98 of them concist of H 2O molecules, and the
remaining two are ions from the dissociation of the CaBr2.

Molality: mole/weight basis

A 1-molal solution contains one mole of solute per 1 kg of solvent.
Molality is a hybrid concentration unit, retaining the convenience of
mole measure for the solute, but expressing it in relation to a
temperature-independent mass rather than a volume. Molality, like
mole fraction, is used in applications dealing with certain physical
properties of solutions; we will see some of these in the next lesson.
Problem Example 8

Calculate the molality of a 60-% (w/w) solution of ethanol in water.

Solution: From the above problems, we know that one liter of this solution contains 11.6
mol of ethanol in (893.7 536.2) = 357.5 g of water. The molarity of ethanol in the solution
is therefore (11.6 mol) / (0.3575 kg) = 32.4 mol kg1.

Conversion between concentration measures

Anyone doing practical chemistry must be able to convert one kind of
concentration measure into another. The important point to remember
is that any conversion involving molarity requires a knowledge of
the densityof the solution.
Problem Example 9

A solution prepared by dissolving 66.0 g of urea (NH2)2CO in 950 g of water had a density of
1.018 g mL1.
Express the concentration of urea in a) weight-percent; b) mole fraction;
c) molarity; d) molality.
a) The weight-percent of solute is (100%)

(66.0 g) / (950 g) = 6.9%

The molar mass of urea is 60, so the number of moles is

(66 g) /(60 g mol1) = 1.1 mol. The number of moles of H2O is
(950 g) / (18 g mol1) = 52.8 mol.

b) Mole fraction of urea: (1.1 mol) / (1.1 + 52.8 mol) = 0.020

c) molarity of urea: the volume of 1 L of solution is (66 + 950)g / (1018 g L 1)
= 998 mL. The number of moles of urea (from a) is 1.1 mol.
Its molarity is then (1.1 mol) / (0.998 L) = 1.1 mol L1.
d) The molality of urea is (1.1 mol) / (.066 + .950) kg = 1.08 mol kg1.

Problem Example 10

Ordinary dry air contains 21% (v/v) oxygen. About many moles of O2 can be inhaled into
the lungs of a typical adult woman with a lung capacity of 4.0 L?
Solution: The number of molecules (and thus the number of moles) in a gas is directly
proportional to its volume (Avogadro's law), so the mole fraction of O2is 0.21. The molar
volume of a gas at 25 C is
(298/271) 22.4 L mol1 = 24.4 L mol1
so the moles of O2 in 4 L of air will be
(4 / 24.4) (0.21 mol) (24.4 L mol1) = 0.84 mol O2.

Dilution calculations
These kinds of calculations arise frequently in both laboratory and
practical applications. If you have a thorough understanding of
concentration definitions, they are easily tackled. The most important
things to bear in mind are

Concentration is inversely proportional to volume;

Molarity is expressed in mol L1, so it is usually more convenient to

express volumes in liters rather than in mL;

Use the principles of unit cancellations to determine what to divide by


Problem Example 11

Commercial hydrochloric acid is available as a 10.17 molar solution. How would you use this
to prepare 500 mL of a 4.00 molar solution?
Solution: The desired solution requires (0.50 L) (4.00 M L1) = 2.0 mol of HCl. This
quantity of HCl is contained in (2.0 mol) / (10.17 M L1) = 0.197 L of the concentrated acid.
So one would measure out 197 mL of the concentrated acid, and then add water to make
the total volume of 500 mL.

Problem Example 12

Calculate the molarity of the solution produced by adding 120 mL of 6.0 M HCl to 150 mL of
0.15 M HCl. What important assumption must be made here?
Solution: The assumption, of course, is that the density of HCl within this concentration
range is constant, meaning that their volumes will be additive.
Moles of HCl in first solution: (0.120 L) (6.0 mol L1) = 0.72 mol HCl
Moles of HCl in second solution: (0.150 L) (0.15 mol L1) = 0.02 mol HCl
Molarity of mixture: (0.72 + 0.02) mol / (.120 + .150) L = 4.3 mol L1.

What you should be able to do

Make sure you thoroughly understand the following essential ideas
which have been presented above. It is especially important that you
know the precise meanings of all the green-highlighted terms in the
context of this topic.

Describe the major reasons that solutions are so important in

the practicalaspects of chemistry.
Explain why expressing a concentration as "x-percent" can be ambiguous.

Explain why the molarity of a solution will vary with its temperature,
whereas molality and mole fraction do not.

Given the necessary data, convert (in either direction) between any two
concentration units, e.g. molarity - mole fraction.

Show how one can prepare a given volume of a solution of a certain

molarity, molality, or percent concentration from a solution that is more
concentrated (expressed in the same units.)

Calculate the concentration of a solution prepared by mixing given

volumes to two solutions whose concentrations are expressed in the same

Concept Map

Chemical Stoichiometry

Stoichiometry is the accounting, or math, behind chemistry. Given enough

information, one can use stoichiometry to calculate masses, moles, and percents
within a chemical equation.
What is a Chemical Equation
The Mole
Balancing Chemical Equations
Limiting Reagents
Percent Composition
Empirical and Molecular Formulas
Concentrations of Solutions

What is a chemical equation?

In chemistry, we use symbols to represent the various chemicals. Success in chemistry
depends upon developing a strong familiarity with these basic symbols. For example,
the symbol "C" represents an atom of carbon, and "H" represents an atom of
hydrogen. To represent a molecule of table salt, sodium chloride, we would use the
notation "NaCl", where "Na" represents sodium and "Cl" represents chlorine. We call
chlorine "chloride" in this case because of its connection to sodium. You will have a
chance to review naming schemes, or nomenclature, in a later reading.
A chemical equation is an expression of a chemical process. For example:
AgNO3(aq) + NaCl(aq) ---> AgCl (s) + NaNO3(aq)
In this equation, AgNO3 is mixed with NaCl. The equation shows that
the reactants (AgNO3 and NaCl) react through some process (--->) to form
the products (AgCl and NaNO3). Since they undergo a chemical process, they are
changed fundamentally.
Often chemical equations are written showing the state that each substance is in. The
(s) sign means that the compound is a solid. The (l) sign means the substance is a
liquid. The (aq) sign stands for aqueous in water and means the compound is
dissolved in water. Finally, the (g) sign means that the compound is a gas.
Coefficients are used in all chemical equations to show the relative amounts of each
substance present. This amount can represent either the relative number of molecules,
or the relative number of moles (described below). If no coefficient is shown, a one
(1) is assumed.

On some occasions, a variety of information will be written above or below the

arrows. This information, such as a value for temperature, show what conditions need
to be present for a reaction to occur. For example, in the graphic below, the notation
above and below the arrows shows that we need a chemical Fe 2O3, a temperature of
1000 degrees C, and a pressure of 500 atmospheres for this reaction to occur.
The graphic below works to capture most of the concepts described above:

The Mole
Given the equation above, we can tell the number of moles of reactants and products.
A mole simply represents Avogadro's number (6.023 x 1023) of molecules. A mole is
similar to a term like a dozen. If you have a dozen carrots, you have twelv e of them.
Similarily, if you have a mole of carrots, you have 6.023 x 10 23 carrots. In the equation
above there are no numbers in front of the terms, so each coefficient is assumed to be
one (1). Thus, you have the same number of moles of Ag NO 3, NaCl, AgCl, NaNO3.

Converting between moles and grams of a substance is often important. This

conversion can be easily done when the atomic and/or molecular weights of the
substance(s) are known. The atomic or molecular weight of a substance in grams
makes up one mole of the substance. For example, calcium has an atomic weight of
40 grams. So, 40 grams of calcium makes one mole, 80 grams makes two moles, etc.

Balancing Chemical Equations

Sometimes, however, we have to do some work before using the coefficients of
the terms to represent the relative number of molecules of each compound. This is the
case when the equations are not pr operly balanced. We will consider the following
Al + Fe3O4---> Al2O3
Since no coefficients are in front of any of the terms, it is easy to assume that one (1)
mole of Al and one (1) mole of Fe304 react to form one (1) mole of Al203. If this were
the case, the reaction would be quite spectacular: an aluminum atom would appear out
of nowhere, and two (2) iron atoms and one (1) oxygen atom would magically
disappear. We know from the Law of Conservation of Mass (which states that matter
can neither be created nor destroyed) that this simply cannot occur. We have to make
sure that the number of atoms of each particular element in the reactants equals the
number of atoms of that same element in the products. To do this we have to figure
out the relative number of molecules of each term expressed by the term's coefficient.
Balancing a chemical equation is essentially done by trial and error. There are many
different ways and systems of doing this, but for all methods, it is important to know
how to count the number of atoms in an equation. For example we will look at the
following term.
This term expresses two (2) molecules of Fe3O4. In each molecule of this substance
there are three (3) Fe atoms. Therefore in two (2) molecules of the substance there
must be six (6) Fe atoms. Similarly there are four (4) oxygen atoms in one (1)
molecule of the substance so there must be eight (8) oxygen atoms in two (2)
Now let's try balancing the equation mentioned earlier:
Al + Fe3O4---> Al2O3+ Fe

Developing a strategy can be difficult, but here is one way of approaching a problem
like this.
1. Count the number of each atom on the reactant and on the product side.
2. Determine a term to balance first. When looking at this problem it appears that
the oxygen will be the most difficult to balance so we'll try to balance the
oxygen first. The simplist way to balance the oxygen terms is:
Al +3 Fe3O4---> 4Al2O3+Fe
It is important that you never change a subscript. Only change the coefficient
when balancing an equation. Also, be sure to notice that the subscript times the
coefficient will give the number of atoms of that element. On the reactant side,
we have a coefficient of three (3) multiplied by a subscript of four (4), giving
12 oxygen atoms. On the product side, we have a coefficient of four (4)
multiplied by a subscript of three (3), giving 12 oxygen atoms. Now, the
oxygens are balanced.
3. Choose another term to balance. We'll choose iron, Fe. Since there are nine (9)
iron atoms in the term in which the oxygen is balanced we add a nine (9)
coefficient in front of the Fe. We now have:
Al +3 Fe3O4---> 4Al2O3+9Fe
4. Balance the last term. In this case, since we had eight (8) aluminum atoms on
the product side we need to have eight (8) on the reactant side so we add an
eight (8) in front of the Al term on the reactant side.
Now, we're done, and the balanced equation is:
8Al + 3Fe3O4 ---> 4Al2O3 + 9 Fe

Limiting Reagents
Sometimes when reactions occur between two or more substances, one reactant runs
out before the other. That is called the "limiting reagent." Often, it is necessary to
identify the limiting reagent in a problem.
Example: A chemist only has 6.0 grams of C2H2 and an unlimitted supply of oxygen
and desires to produce as much CO2 as possible. If she uses the equation below, how
much oxygen should she add to the reaction?
2C2H2(g) + 5O2(g) ---> 4CO2(g) + 2 H2O(l)

To solve this problem, it is necessary to determine how much oxygen should be added
if all of the reactants were used up (this is the way to produce the maximum amount
of CO2).
First, we calculate the number of moles of C 2H2 in 6.0 grams of C2H2. To be able to
calculate the moles we need to look at a periodic table and see that 1 mole of C
weighs 12.0 grams and H weighs 1.0 gram. Therefore we know that 1 mole of
C2H2 weighs 26 grams (2*12 grams + 2*1 gram). Since we only have 6.0 grams of
C2H2 we must find out what fraction of a mole 6.0 grams is. To do this, we use the
following equation.

Then, because there are five (5) molecules of oxygen to every two (2) molecules of
C2H2, we need to multiply the moles of C2H2 by 5/2 to get the total moles of oxygen
that would be used to react with all the C 2H2. We then convert the moles of oxygen to
grams in order to find the amount of oxygen that needs to be added:

Percent Composition
It is possible to calculate the mole ratios (also called mole fractions) between terms in
a chemical equation when given the percent by mass of products or reactants.
percentage by mass = mass of part/ mass of whole
There are two types of percent composition problems-- problems in which you are
given the formula (or the weight of each part) and asked to calculate the percentage of
each element and problems in which you are given the percentages and asked to
calculate the formula.
In percent composition problems, there are many possible solutions. It is always
possible to double the answer. For example, CH and C 2H2 have the same proportions,
but they are different compounds. It is standard to give compounds in their simplest
form, where the ratio between the elements is as reduced as it can be-- called
the empirical formula. When calculating the empirical formula from percent
composition, one can convert the percentages to grams. For example, it is usually the
easiest to assume you have 100 grams so 54.3% would become 54.3 grams. Then we
can convert the masses to moles which gives us mole ratios. It is necessary to reduce
to whole numbers. A good technique is to divide all the terms by the smallest number
of moles. Then the ratio of the moles can be transfered to write the empirical formula.

Example: If a compound is 47.3% C (carbon), 10.6% H (hydrogen) and 42.0% S

(sulfur), what is its empirical formula?
To do this problem we need to transfer all of our percents to masses. We assume that
we have 100 g of this substance. Then we convert to moles:

Now we try to get an even ratio between the elements so we divide by the number of
moles of sulfur, because it is the smallest number:

So we have: C3H8 S
Example: Figure out the percentage by mass of hydrogen sulfate, H 2SO4.
In this problem we need to first calculate the total weight of the compound by looking
at the periodic table. This gives us:
(2(1.008) + 32.07 + 4(16.00) grams/mol = 98.09 g/mol
Now, we need to take the weight fraction of each element over the total mass (which
we just found) and multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

Now, we can check that the percentages add up to 100%

65.2 + 2.06 + 32.7 = 99.96

This is essentially 100 so we know that everything has worked, and we probably have
not made any careless errors.
So the answer is that H2SO4 is made up of 2.06% H, 32.7% S, and 65.2% O by mass.

Empirical Formula and Molecular Formula

While the empirical formula is the simplest form of a compound, the molecular
formula is the form of the term as it would appear in a chemical equation. The
empirical formula and the molecular formula can be the same, or the molecular
formula can be any multiple of the empirical formula. Examples of empirical
formulas: AgBr, Na2S, C6H10O5. Examples of molecular formulas: P2, C2O4, C6H14S2,
H2, C3H9.
One can calculate the empirical formula from the masses or percentage composition
of any compound. We have already discussed percent composition in the section
above. If we only have mass, all we are doing is essentially eliminating the step of
converting from percentage to mass.
Example: Calculate the empirical formula for a compound that has 43.7 g P
(phosphorus) and 56.3 grams of oxygen. First we convert to moles:

Next we divide the moles to try to get a even ratio.

When we divide, we did not get whole numbers so we must multiply by two (2). The
Calculating the molecular formula once we have the empirical formula is easy. If we
know the empirical formula of a compound, all we need to do is divide the molecular
mass of the compound by the mass of the empirical formula. It is also possible to do
this with one of the elements in the formula; simply divide the mass of that element in
one mole of compound by the mass of that element in the empirical formula. The
result should always be a whole number.

Example: if we know that the empirical formula of a compound is HCN and we are
told that a 2.016 grams of hydrogen are necesary to make the compound, what is the
molecular formula? In the empirical formula hydrogen weighs 1.008 grams. Dividing
2.016 by 1.008 we see that the amount of hydrogen needed is twice as much.
Therefore the empirical formula needs to be increased by a factor of two (2). The
answer is:

Density refers to the mass per unit volume of a substance. It is a very common term in

Concentrations of Solutions
The concentration of a solution is the "strength" of a solution. A solution typically
refers to the dissolving of some solid substance in a liquid, such as dissolving salt in
water. It is also often necessary to figure out how much water to add to a solution to
change it to a specific concentration.
The concentration of a solution is typically given in molarity. Molarity is defined as
the number of moles of solute (what is actually dissolved in the solution) divided by
the liters of solution (the total volume of what is dissolved and what it has been
dissolved in).

Molarity is probably the most commonly used term because measuring a volume of
liquid is a fairly easy thing to do.
Example: If 5.00 grams of NaOH are dissolved in 5000 mL of water, what is the
molarity of the solution?
One of our first steps is to convert the amount of NaOH given in grams into moles:

Now we simply use the definition of molarity: moles/liters to get the answer

So the molarity (M) of the solution is 0.025 mol/L.

Molality is another common measurement of concentration. Molality is defined as

moles of solute divided by kilograms of solvent (the substance in which it is
dissolved, like water).

Molality is sometimes used in place of molarity at extreme temperatures because the

volume can contract or expand.
Example: If the molality of a solution of C 2H5OH dissolved in water is 1.5 and the
weight of the water is 11.7 kg, figure out how much C 2H5OH must have been added in
grams to the solution?
Our first step is to substitute what we know into the equation. Then we try to solve for
what we don't know: moles of solute. Once we know the moles of solute we can look
at the periodic table and figure out the conversion from moles to grams.

It is possible to convert between molarity and molality. The only information needed
is density.
Example: If the molarity of a solution is 0.30 M, calculate the molality of the solution
knowing that the density is 3.25 g/mL.
To do this problem we can assume one (1) liter of solution to make the numbers
easier. We need to get from the molarity units of mols/Liter to the molality units of
mols/kg. We work the problem as follows, remembering that there are 1000 mL in a
Liter and 1000 grams in a kg. This conversion will only be accurate at small
molarities and molalities.

It is also possible to calculate colligative properties, such as boiling point depression,

using molality. The equation for temperature depression or expansion is
Change in T= K * m
Where: T is temperature depression (for freezing point) or temperature expansion (for
boiling point) (C)

K is the freezing point constant (kg C/moles)

m is molality in moles/kg
Example: If the freezing point of the salt water put on roads is -5.2 C, what is the
molality of the solution? (The Kf for water is 1.86 C/m.)
This is a simple problem where we just plug in numbers into the equation. One piece
of information we do have to know is that water usually freezes at 0 0C.
T=K * m
T/K= m
m = 5.2/1.86
m = 2.8 mols/kg

Practice Problems
1. If only 0.25 molar NaOH and water are available, how much NaOH needs to be
added to make 10 liters of 0.2 molar solution of NaOH?
Check your work
2. If 2.0 moles of sucrose weighing 684 grams is put in 1000 grams of water and is
then dissolved, what would be the molality of the solution?
Check your work.
3. If you have a 0.25 molar solution of benzene with a density of 15 grams/liter,
calculate the molality of the solution.
Check your work
4. If the density of mercury is 13.534 g/cm2 and you have 62.5 cm3 of mercury, how
many grams, moles, and atoms of mercury do you have? (Mercury has a mass of
200.6 g/mol.)
Check your work
Stoichiometry Solution:
If 2.0 moles of sucrose weighting 684 grams is put in 1000 grams of water
and is then dissolved, what would be the molality of the solution?

Answer=2.00 m
In this problem we use the equation for molality.
Molality=mols of solute/kilograms of solvent
We know the mols of solute =2 and the solvent weighs 1.00 liters. Therefore
2/1.00=2.00 m
Density Solution:
If the density of mercury is 13.534 g/cm3 and you have 62.5 cm3 of mercury, how
many grams, moles, and atoms of mercury do you have? (Mercury has a mass of
200.6 g/mol.)