Properties of Solutions: Electrolytes and Non-Electrolytes
Recommended for grades 9–12.
In this experiment, you will discover some properties of strong electrolytes, weak electrolytes, and non-electrolytes by observing the behavior of these substances in aqueous solutions. You will determine these properties using a Conductivity Probe. When the probe is placed in a solution that contains ions, and thus has the ability to conduct electricity, an electrical circuit is completed across the electrodes that are located on either side of the hole near the bottom of the probe body. This results in a conductivity value that can be read by a data-collection interface. The unit of conductivity used in this experiment is the microsiemens per centimeter, or µS/cm.
The size of the conductivity value depends on the ability of the aqueous solution to conduct electricity. Strong electrolytes produce large numbers of ions, which results in high conductivity values. Weak electrolytes result in low conductivity, and non-electrolytes should result in no conductivity. In this experiment, you will observe several factors that determine whether or not a solution conducts, and if so, the relative magnitude of the conductivity. Thus, this simple experiment allows you to learn a great deal about different compounds and their resulting solutions.
In this experiment, you will
Write equations for the dissociation of compounds in water.
Use a Conductivity Probe to measure the conductivity of solutions.
Determine which molecules or ions are responsible for conductivity of solutions.
Investigate the conductivity of solutions resulting from compounds that dissociate to produce different numbers of ions.
Sensors and Equipment
This experiment requires each of the following Vernier sensors and equipment (unless otherwise noted):
Step-by-step instructions for computer-based data collection
List of materials and equipment
Note: The experiment preview of the computer edition does not include essential teacher information, safety tips, or sample data. Instructions for Logger Pro and other software (such as LabQuest App or TI handheld software, where available) are on the CD that accompanies the book. We strongly recommend that you purchase the book before performing experiments.