The Solubility Curve of Potassium Nitrate Experiment Report

Essay by lola.finnCollege, UndergraduateA+, October 2006

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Purpose:

Our purpose here to determine the affects of temperature on potassium nitrate's solubility in water.

Materials Used in the Experiment:

Latex gloves

Laboratory coat

Safety goggles

Thermometer

Stir rod

Test tubes

Beaker

Weighing dish

Hot plate

Potassium nitrate

Distilled water

Description of the Object of the Experiment

Potassium Nitrate:

The chemical compound potassium nitrate is a naturally occurring mineral source of nitrogen. It is a nitrate with chemical formula KNO3.

Its common names include saltpetre (from Medieval Latin sal petrae: "stone salt" or possibly "Salt of Petra"), American English salt peter, Nitrate of potash and nitre. The name salt peter is also applied to sodium nitrate.

Description:

Potassium nitrate is the oxidizing (oxygen-supplying) component of black powder. Prior to the large-scale industrial fixation of nitrogen through the Haber process, a major source of Potassium nitrate was the deposits crystallising from cave walls or the drainings of decomposing organic material.

Dung-heaps were a particularly common source: ammonia from the decomposition of urea and other nitrogenous materials would undergo bacterial oxidation to produce nitrate. It was and is also used as a component in some fertilizers. When used by itself as a fertilizer, it has an NPK rating of 13-0-44 (indicating 13%, 0%, and 44% of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, by mass, respectively).

Manufacture:

Historically, nitre-beds were prepared by mixing manure with either mortar or wood ashes, common earth and organic materials such as straw to give porosity to a compost pile typically 1.5 metres high by 2 metres wide by 5 metres long. The heap was usually under a cover from the rain, kept moist with urine, turned often to accelerate the decomposition and leached with water after approximately one year. The liquid containing various nitrates was then converted with wood ashes to potassium nitrates, crystallized and refined for use...