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Jodelyn Brazas

October 1,

Gabrielle Catalan

October 8, 2014

Robyn Emielle Espedido

Chemical Equilibrium: Le Chateliers Principle
Experiment No. 4

Describe a reversible reaction; and

Determine the effects of changing concentration, pressure, volume, and

temperature on the equilibrium.



Gaseous Equilibrium
A reddish brown gas was prepared by dropping a few pieces of copper
wires cut into small pieces to an Erlenmeyer flask containing concentrated HNO3
and was allowed to evolve for a few seconds to displace the air inside the flask.
About 8 mL of the reddish brown gas was collected using a 10-mL glass syringe
and the NO2 that might have been collected in the syringe was released by
pushing the plunger until it reaches the 5-mL mark. The reaction between copper
and nitric acid is defined by this equation:
Cu (s) + 4HNO3 (aq) Cu(NO3)2 (aq) + 2H2O (l) + 2NO2 (g)
The syringe was quickly pulled from the flask and a rubber stopper was
used to enclose tip of the syringe to prevent the gas from escaping. The volume
inside the syringe was decreased by pushing the plunger. From light brown, it
turned to brown, when the plunger was pushed from 8-mL to 5-mL, after some
time the gas inside turned to light brown again.
In gaseous reactions where there is a change in the number of molecules
in going from reactants to products or vice-versa, pressure plays an important
role (TutorVista.com, 2010).

Gas pressure is related to the number of gas particles in the system, more
gas particles mean more gas pressure.

2NO2 (g)

N2O4 (g)

In the experiment, increasing the pressure on this equilibrium system will

result in the equilibrium position shifting to reduce the pressure, that is, to the
side that has the least number of gas particles. There are two gas particles on
the left hand side of the reaction and one gas particle on the right hand side of
the reaction. Increasing the pressure on this system results in the equilibrium
position moving to the right, consuming NO 2 (g) and producing more N2O4 (g).
The system will become a lighter reddish brown color (ausetute.com.au).
Reducing the pressure on this equilibrium system will result in the
equilibrium position moving to the left, that is, to the side that has the most gas
particles, in order to increase the pressure. The reddish brown color of the
system becomes darker (ausetute.com.au).
To summarize everything, the volume and hence the pressure are
changed by moving the plunger. Compression of the mixture temporarily
increases the concentration of NO2. When the mixture reestablishes equilibrium,
the color is lighter than that at the beginning because he formation of N 2O4 is
favored by the pressure increase (Brown, 2009)
B. Common Ion Effect
Two test tubes with 5 mL of 1.0 M


were prepared and each test

tubes were added with a few drops of red methyl that were then swirled to mix.
After a while, one of the test tubes with red methyl was added with a pinch of
sodium acetate.






Upon addition of the red methyl, a change in color was observed. The table
indicates the color changes of acetic acid.


Color Changes

5 mL of 1 M CH3COOH


CH3COOH + methyl red indicator



CH3COOH + methyl red indicator +


NaOAc (white powder)

The common ion effect describes the changes that occur with the
introduction of ions to a solution containing that same ion (boundless.com).
According to Le Chateliers principle, if a system at equilibrium is disturbed by a
change in temperature, pressure, or the concentration of one of the components,
the system will shift its equilibrium position so as to counteract the effect of the
disturbance (Brown, 2009).
In the experiment, both sodium acetate and acetic acid are dissolved in the
same solution as they both dissociate and ionize to produce acetate ions. Sodium
acetate is a strong electrolyte so it dissociates completely in the solution, while
acetic acid is a weak acid so it only ionizes slightly. Relating this to Le Chateliers
principle, the addition of acetate ions from sodium acetate will suppress the
ionization of acetic acid, resulting to a shift in its equilibrium to the left and


ions in order to achieve equilibrium, thus decreasing its

C. Complex Ion Effect
In a 250 mL beaker, 1 mL of 0.1 M FeCl 3 and 1 mL of 0.1 M KSCN solution
were mixed together. The mixture immediately turned maroon in color. Water, 100

mL, was then added to the mixture turning the color to a clear light orange and was
then divided equally into four test tubes.
FeCl3 (aq) + KSCN


FeSCN2+ (aq) + K+ (aq) + Cl- (aq)

FeCl3 + KSCN
FeCl3 + KSCN + H2O

Change in Color
Light orange

Different compounds were then added to the test tubes. Ferric nitrate was
added into the mixture in test tube 1: the color of the solution in the test tube
immediately turned into light dark orange. In test tube 2, Ammonium thiocyanate
was added and a dark red colour was acquired. Potassium chloride was added to the
solution in test tube 2, the color of the solution remained the same light orange. In
the last test tube, the solution immediately became clear when Disodium hydrogen
phosphate was added.
FeCl3 + KSCN + H2O


Dark Orange
Dark red
No color change

When a system in equilibrium is disturbed by increasing the concentration of

one of the reactants, the system will consume more of that substance so as to
maintain the original state of equilibrium. Likewise, when there is decrease in
concentration of a certain reactant, the system will consume less of the decreased
substance and more of the larger substance to obtain a state of equilibrium.
In general, Le Chateliers Principle states that an increase of concentration in
a certain substance at one side of the equation shifts the equilibrium of the system
to produce more of the substances at the other side of the equation.
Relating to the experiment, the increase of the concentration of either Fe 3+ (aq)
or SCN- (aq) resulted in the shift of equilibrium to the right. Resulting to the higher
consumption of certain reactants and the increased production of the product,

FeSCN2+ (aq). This entailed a change in color of the solution, from the clear light
orange color of the original or base solution to a dark orange color.
Decreasing the concentration of either Fe 3+ (aq) or SCN- (aq) resulted to a shift in
equilibrium to the left, thus the larger production of Fe 3+ (aq) and SCN- (aq). The color of
the solution became lighter due to the increased consumption of FeSCN 2+ (aq).
Increasing the concentration of FeSCN2+ (aq) resulted in the equilibrium position
to move to the left in order to use up more of the FeSCN 2+ (aq) and to produce more
Fe3+ (aq) and SCN- (aq). While, decreasing the concentration of FeSCN 2+ (aq) resulted into
the shift of the equilibrium of the system to the right so as to produce more FeSCN 2+

which resulted to a darker red color of the solution.

D. Chromate-Dichromate Equilibrium

The colors of chromate ion (K2CrO4) and dichromate ion (K2Cr2O7) solutions
were observed. Test tubes 1 and 2 contained approximately 1 mL of K 2CrO4 while
test tubes 3 and 4 contained 1 mL K2Cr2O7. Test tubes 1 and 2 have a yellow color
while test tubes 3 and 4 have an orange color. Test tubes 1 and 3 were added with
drops of 1 M NaOH while test tubes 2 and 4 were added with drops of 1 M HCl until
an obvious change in color was noticed. Table 5 summarizes the color changes that
occurred to each test tube.
The chromate-dichromate equilibrium is defined by these equations:
2CrO42- (aq) + H2O (l) Cr2O72- (aq) + 2OH- (aq)
Cr2O72- (aq) + H2O (l) 2CrO42- (aq) + 2H+ (aq)
Table 5. Color Changes of K2CrO4 and K2Cr2O7 with the Addition of NaOH and HCl
Test Tube



Initial Color

Final Color



Le Chatelier's Principle states that if a system is at equilibrium and

something is changed so that it is no longer at equilibrium, the system will
respond in an effort to counteract that change. If more reactant is added, the
equilibrium will shift forward in order to consume some of the extra reactant
(since there are more ions available for reaction), resulting in more product. If
some of the product is removed from the system, the equilibrium will shift
forward to produce more of that product. The equilibrium can be shifted reverse
by either adding product to or removing reactant from the system.
Le Chateliers Principle states that If a stress is applied to a reaction at
equilibrium, the reaction will shift to offset the stress applied. The addition of
hydrogen ions or hydroxide ions constitutes a stress, as does the removal of
either ion, and so it can be expected that the equilibria will shift in response to
concentration changes in these ions.
In the experiment, yellow chromate ion and orange dichromate ion are in
equilibrium with each other in aqueous solution. The more acidic the solution,
the more the equilibrium is shifted to favor the dichromate ion. As nitric acid is
added to the potassium chromate solution, the yellow color turns to orange.
When sodium hydroxide is added to the potassium chromate solution, the
orange color turns back to yellow. The sodium hydroxide reacts with hydrogen
ions, removing them from the solution. When one reactant is removed from an
equilibrium system, the equilibrium shifts reverse, in this case forming the yellow
chromate ion again.
Brown, T., LeMay, H.E., Bursten, B., and Burdge, Julia. 2002. Chemistry:
The Central Science, 9th edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Woodward, P., Brown, T., LeMay, H.E., Bursten, B., and Murphy, C., 2009.
Chemistry: The Central Science, 11th edition. Pearson Education, Inc.
Chang, R.N. 1998. Chemistry. 6th edition. USA: McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Petrucci, R.H. and Harwood, W.S. 1998. General Chemistry: Principles and
Modern Applications, 7th edition. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall International.
Silberberg, M. 2006. Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter and
Change, 4th edition.

The reagents should be readily available in order to perform the experiments
faster. There was a slight pause while performing the experiments because the
reagents were still not available thus resulting to a slow performance of the activity.
The making of the post-lab for Experiment A should have been easier if the
experiment was performed by the groups (or even by the whole class) and not just