Vernier Software & Technology

Using Freezing Point Depression to Find Molecular Weight

Introduction

When a solute is dissolved in a solvent, the freezing temperature is lowered in proportion to the number of moles of solute added. This property, known as freezing-point depression, is a colligative property; that is, it depends on the ratio of solute and solvent particles, not on the nature of the substance itself. The equation that shows this relationship is:

$\Delta T = {K_f} \cdot m$

where ΔT is the freezing point depression, Kf is the freezing point depression constant for a particular solvent (3.9°C-kg/mol for lauric acid in this experiment1 ), and m is the molality of the solution (in mol solute/kg solvent).

In this experiment, you will first find the freezing temperature of the pure solvent, lauric acid, CH3(CH2)10COOH. You will then add a known mass of benzoic acid solute, C6H5COOH, to a known mass of lauric acid, and determine the lowering of the freezing temperature of the solution. In an earlier experiment, you observed the effect on the cooling behavior at the freezing point of adding a solute to a pure substance. By measuring the freezing point depression, ΔT, and the mass of benzoic acid, you can use the formula above to find the molecular weight of the benzoic acid solute, in g/mol.

Objectives

In this experiment, you will

• Determine the freezing temperature of pure lauric acid.
• Determine the freezing temperature of a solution of benzoic acid and lauric acid.
• Examine the freezing curves for each.
• Calculate the experimental molecular weight of benzoic acid.
• Compare it to the accepted molecular weight for benzoic acid.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 2

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Chemistry with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

 1 Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions 2 Freezing and Melting of Water 3 Another Look at Freezing Temperature 4 Heat of Fusion of Ice 5 Find the Relationship: An Exercise in Graphing Analysis 6 Boyle's Law: Pressure-Volume Relationship in Gases 7 Pressure-Temperature Relationship in Gases 8 Fractional Distillation 9 Evaporation and Intermolecular Attractions 10 Vapor Pressure of Liquids 11 Determining the Concentration of a Solution: Beer's Law 12 Effect of Temperature on Solubility of a Salt 13 Properties of Solutions: Electrolytes and Non-Electrolytes 14 Conductivity of Solutions: The Effect of Concentration 15 Using Freezing Point Depression to Find Molecular Weight 16 Energy Content of Foods 17 Energy Content of Fuels 18 Additivity of Heats of Reaction: Hess's Law 19 Heat of Combustion: Magnesium 20 Chemical Equilibrium: Finding a Constant, Kc 21 Household Acids and Bases 22 Acid Rain 23 Titration Curves of Strong and Weak Acids and Bases 24 Acid-Base Titration 25 Titration of a Diprotic Acid: Identifying an Unknown 26 Using Conductivity to Find an Equivalence Point 27 Acid Dissociation Constant, Ka 28 Establishing a Table of Reduction Potentials: Micro-Voltaic Cells 29 Lead Storage Batteries 30 Rate Law Determination of the Crystal Violet Reaction 31 Time-Release Vitamin C Tablets 32 The Buffer in Lemonade 33 Determining the Free Chlorine Content of Swimming Pool Water 34 Determining the Quantity of Iron in a Vitamin Tablet 35 Determining the Phosphoric Acid Content in Soft Drinks 36 Microscale Acid-Base Titration

Experiment 15 from Chemistry with Vernier Lab Book

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.