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Conductivity of Saltwater: The Effect of Concentration

Experiment #17 from Physical Science with Vernier


If an ionic solid is dissolved in water, ions are released and the resulting solution will conduct electricity. Dissolving solid sodium chloride (table salt) in water releases ions according to the equation

{\text{NaCl(s)}} \to {\text{N}}{{\text{a}}^{\text{ + }}}{\text{(aq) + C}}{{\text{l}}^ - }{\text{(aq)}}

In this experiment, you will study the effect on electrical conductivity of increasing sodium chloride concentration. Electrical conductivity will be measured as the ion concentration of the solution being monitored is gradually increased by the addition of concentrated NaCl drops. A Conductivity Probe, attached to a computer, will be used to measure electrical conductivity. Conductivity is measured in microsiemens (μS/cm).


In this experiment, you will

  • Measure conductivity.
  • Record data.
  • Graph this data.
  • Use the data and graph to make conclusions about conductivity.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #17 of Physical Science with Vernier. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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