How Much Water Does Epsom Salts Contain

Essay by greenestineHigh School, 11th gradeA, May 2005

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How Much Water Does Epsom salts Contain?


The purpose of the experiment was to find the percent of water in Epsom salts by heating it. To find the percent of water in a hydrate, the hydrate must be heated. The experiment did not only show how dehydration occurs, but this experiment also gives an accurate and definite portrayal of the amount of water that is removed

Background Information

A hydrate is any compound that contains water. An anhydrous compound is a hydrate in which the water is taken out of it by a process of dehydration. One example would be Epsom salts. The chemical formula for Epsom salts is MgSO4 · 7H2O.


If Epsom salts is heated to a constant temperature, then the percent of water lost will be 51%.


Safety goggles evaporating dish

Bunsen burner balance

Clay triangle stirring rod

Epsom salts iron ring

Ring stand crucible tongs


1. Attached the iron ring to the ring stand and placed the clay triangle on the iron ring

2. Placed the evaporating dish on the clay triangle and heated the evaporating dish with a Bunsen burner in the hottest part of the flame for three minutes

3. Removed the evaporating dish from the ring stand and let it cool until the dish is cool to the touch

4. Weighed the evaporating dish with the balance. Recorded the mass on the data table

5. Placed 2g of Epsom salts (the hydrate) in the evaporating dish. Weighed the evaporating dish and the hydrate on the balance and recorded the mass on the data table

6. Placed the evaporating dish with the hydrate back on the clay triangle. Gently heated the dish. Gradually increased the heat on the evaporating dish and hydrate.

7. Heated strongly for...