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Salts of carbonates, phosphates, oxalates, chromates and sulphides are generally insoluble.

Testing for common anions in solution

It is also possible to carry out tests to determine which ions are present in a solution. You should try to do each of these tests in class.

Test for a chloride

Prepare a solution of the unknown salt using distilled water and add a small amount of silver nitrate solution. If a white precipitate forms, the salt is either a chloride or a carbonate.

Cl - + Ag + + NO 3 - AgCl + NO 3 -
( AgCl is white precipitate)
CO 3 2 - + 2 Ag + + 2 NO 3 - Ag 2 CO 3 + 2 NO 3 -
( Ag 2 CO 3 is white precipitate)

The next step is to treat the precipitate with a small amount of concentrated nitric acid . If the precipitate remains unchanged, then the salt is a chloride. If carbon dioxide is formed, and the precipitate disappears, the salt is a carbonate.

AgCl + HNO 3 (no reaction; precipitate is unchanged)

Ag 2 CO 3 + 2 HNO 3 2 AgNO 3 + H 2 O + CO 2 (precipitate disappears)

Test for a sulphate

Add a small amount of barium chloride solution to a solution of the test salt. If a white precipitate forms, the salt is either a sulphate or a carbonate.

SO 4 2 - + Ba 2 + + Cl - BaSO 4 + Cl - ( BaSO 4 is a white precipitate)

CO 3 2 - + Ba 2 + + Cl - BaCO 3 + Cl - ( BaCO 3 is a white precipitate)

If the precipitate is treated with nitric acid, it is possible to distinguish whether the salt is a sulphate or a carbonate (as in the test for a chloride).

BaSO 4 + HNO 3 (no reaction; precipitate is unchanged)

BaCO 3 + 2 HNO 3 Ba ( NO 3 ) 2 + H 2 O + CO 2 (precipitate disappears)

Test for a carbonate

If a sample of the dry salt is treated with a small amount of acid, the production of carbon dioxide is a positive test for a carbonate.

Acid + CO 3 2 - CO 2

If the gas is passed through limewater and the solution becomes milky, the gas is carbon dioxide.

Ca(OH) 2 + CO 2 CaCO 3 + H 2 O (It is the insoluble CaCO 3 precipitate that makes the limewater go milky)

Test for bromides and iodides

As was the case with the chlorides, the bromides and iodides also form precipitates when they are reacted with silver nitrate. Silver chloride is a white precipitate, but the silver bromide and silver iodide precipitates are both pale yellow. To determine whether the precipitate is a bromide or an iodide, we use chlorine water and carbon tetrachloride ( CCl 4 ).

Chlorine water frees bromine gas from the bromide and colours the carbon tetrachloride a reddish brown.

Chlorine water frees iodine gas from an iodide and colours the carbon tetrachloride purple.

Precipitation reactions and ions in solution

  1. Silver nitrate ( AgNO 3 ) reacts with potassium chloride ( KCl ) and a white precipitate is formed.
    1. Write a balanced equation for the reaction that takes place.
    2. What is the name of the insoluble salt that forms?
    3. Which of the salts in this reaction are soluble?
  2. Barium chloride reacts with sulphuric acid to produce barium sulphate and hydrochloric acid.
    1. Write a balanced equation for the reaction that takes place.
    2. Does a precipitate form during the reaction?
    3. Describe a test that could be used to test for the presence of barium sulphate in the products.
  3. A test tube contains a clear, colourless salt solution. A few drops of silver nitrate solution are added to the solution and a pale yellow precipitate forms. Which one of the following salts was dissolved in the original solution?
    1. NaI
    2. KCl
    3. K 2 CO 3
    4. Na 2 SO 4
    (IEB Paper 2, 2005)

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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What makes metals better to use as wires than non-metals? (please link to bonding type)??? HELP
Yash Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry grade 10 [caps]. OpenStax CNX. Jun 13, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11303/1.4
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