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CHEM 1065 SPRING 2013 EVI SUSILOWATI

1 Liquid Fertilizer Project


Contents
ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................................... 2
INTRODUCTION......................................................................................................................... 3
EXPERIMENTAL SECTION ..................................................................................................... 4
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ................................................................................................... 8
CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................. 9
REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................ 10



CHEM 1065 SPRING 2013 EVI SUSILOWATI

2 Liquid Fertilizer Project
LIQUID FERTILIZER PROJECT
Evi Susilowati
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
ABSTRACT
Major food crops like corn and soybean, as well as the lawn and landscape plant, need fertilizer
to supply the nutrition needed by the plants in order to grow well. The nutrition needed by the
plants is unique according to the type of the plants and the condition of the soil where the crops
grow. In order to make a liquid fertilizer with specific material, an experiment was performed to
synthesis the liquid fertilizer. This liquid fertilizer will contain 10% of nitrogen, 5% of
potassium, 1% of phosphor, and 2% of sulfate ion. The experiment included the way to measures
the exact amount of material provided to produce 10 ml of the liquid fertilizer and make sure that
the materials were soluble when they dissolved in water. The experiment were divided into two
parts. Part I was the observation with the objective to mix the essential material such as nitrogen,
phosphor, and potassium. This experiment took account of calculating the exact proportion for
each material, and to make sure that the materials were soluble in water when those were mixed
up. The other part of observation was purposed to add a specific compound in the liquid
fertilizer, which was assigned to be sulfate ion with 2% concentration. The experiment was
successfully conducted, resulting in a 10 ml clear solution of the liquid fertilizer containing N, P,
K, and SO
4
2-
.

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INTRODUCTION
Major food crops like corn and soybean, as well as the lawn and landscape plants, need
fertilizer to supply the nutrients needed by the plants in order to grow well. The nutrition needed
by the plants is unique according to the type of the plants and the condition of the soil where the
crops grow. In order to make a liquid fertilizer with specific material, an experiment was
performed to synthesis the liquid fertilizer.
The aim of this experiment was to create a liquid fertilizer which consisted of 10% of
nitrogen (N), 1% of phosphor in form of P
2
O
5
, and 5% of potassium in form of K
2
O. The
specific substance used to distinguish this fertilizer with other fertilizer was the sulfate ion with a
concentration of 2% based on the overall fertilizer product. The product was predicted to be a 10
ml of a clear solution because all the material needed to be soluble in water when they were
mixed together.
This experiment is interesting because it tests the comprehension of the student during
the mixing of the material such that it needs strategy to determine whether the material is soluble
or insoluble when they are mixed together.
In addition, it is also important to understand the basic knowledge of the liquid fertilizer.
As it is stated in feeco.com, Nitrogen helps plants grow quickly, while also increasing the
production of seed and fruit, and bettering the quality of leaf and forage crops. Nitrogen is also a
component of chlorophyll, the substance that gives plants their green color, and also aids in
photosynthesis. The second important substance is phosphorus, because it is essential in
photosynthesis process. Phosphorus also supports the formation of the food substance in a plant,
including oils, sugars, and starches. As freeco.com stated, The transformation of solar energy
into chemical energy is also aided by phosphorus, as well as is development of the plant, and the

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ability to withstand stress. Additionally, phosphorus encourages the growth of roots, and
promotes blooming.
Potassium is the third essential nutrient plants needed. This ion assists in photosynthesis,
fruit quality, the building of protein, as well as the reduction of disease.

EXPERIMENTAL SECTION
This experiment was divided into two parts. The first week of the experiment was to
determine the exact amount of essential material needed by considering the certain ratio. The
essential materials needed were 10% nitrogen (N), 1% of phosphor in form of P
2
O
5
, and 5% of
potassium in form of K
2
O. The week 1 experiment was also purposed to ensure that no
precipitate formed after the material provided is mixed.
The observation was began by gathering the material and chemical substance needed.
The equipment needed were glassware apparatus that consisted of graduated cylinder, beaker,
and stirring rod. The graduated cylinder and beaker glass were used to be the container of the
material, before and after they were mixed. The stirring rod was used to stir the materials to
make them completely dissolved. The scale were needed to weight the amount of material
needed. The scale used here is the scale which can measure up to 0.001 gram mass. The
scoopulas was used to take the material needed, considering that the materials used were
provided in form of powders. To ensure about the safety in the lab, it is encouraged to use
goggles all the time.
The laboratory provided some chemical substance that can be selected to make the liquid
fertilizer. The materials available were in form of salt and liquid. To determine which of the
substances that can be used in the experiment, some consideration were taken into account such

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as the solubility chart and the possibility of the solubility if the substances were to be mixed with
other substance.

Table 1: Solubility Chart

The solubility chart shows that nitrogen, in form of nitrate and ammonium is soluble
without any exceptions. Thus, any of the materials contain nitrogen or ammonium can be used in
this experiment. It is also stated that potassium is soluble without any exception that the any
material containing potassium can be used and mixed. Phosphor, on the other hand, is insoluble
in form of phosphate. However, to make it soluble, the experiment needs to use material which
contain group IA or ammonium ion.
The compound which were not eliminated then were gathered before the experiment. For
the phosphor source, the substance picked were sodium phosphate (Na
3
PO
4
). The potassium
source was potassium carbonate (K
2
CO
3
). Lastly, nitrogen were gained from ammonium

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carbonate ((NH
4
)
2
CO
3
). The three of the substance is in the form of powder. Deionized water
(H
2
O) was needed as the solvent.
In order to make the calculation easier, it is assumed that the final result will be 100 gram
to represent the 100% of result. Thus, the substance needed would be 10 gr of nitrogen, 1 gram
of phosphor, and 5 gram of potassium.
The mole of each substance were calculated using formula



Nitrogen



Because the substance used was ammonium carbonate, the ratio mole needed over the
mole provided would be 1:2. Thus the actual mole of nitrogen needed from ammonium
carbonate will be
.
Thus, the mass of ammonium carbonate needed



Phosphor



Because the substance used was sodium phosphate, the ratio mole needed over the mole
provided would be 2:1. Thus the actual mole of phosphor needed from sodium phosphate will be
.
Thus, the mass of ammonium carbonate needed



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Potassium



Because the substance used was potassium carbonate, the ratio mole needed over the
mole provided would be 1:1. Thus the actual mole of potassium needed from potassium
carbonate will be
.
Thus, the mass of ammonium carbonate needed


Assumed that the density of the liquid fertilizer is the same as the density of water in the
room temperature (1 gr/ml), then it can be inferred that the liquid fertilizer produced from the
material above will be 100 ml. The objective of this experiment is to create a 10 m clear solution
of liquid fertilizer. Thus, the mass of material mentioned above needed to be divided by 10. The
substances were mixed up in the beaker glass, and wait until it dissolved completely.
The week 2 experiment was included to mix the liquid fertilizer made in week 1 with
additional substance: sulfate ion (SO
4
2
). The procedure was being repeated in the week 2, to
eliminate the substance provided by the solubility chart, then calculate the mole needed to make
the sulfate ion 2% of overall liquid fertilizer. As evaluated, the substance chosen was sodium
sulfate (Na
2
SO
4
).
Sulfate ion mass


The mass result still must be divided by factor of 10 regarding the total product of 10 ml
solution. The procedure was the same with the one in week 1, the substance was mixed together
in a beaker glass. Then the acidity (pH) needed to be measured.

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RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Experiment of the essential substance needed (N, P, K)
After the substances were mixed, it appeared that the solid solute did not dissolve
completely. The product showed white precipitation which could not be remove even after being
crushed by the stirring rod. Then more amount of water was added and the solution become clear
after a certain of water were added. The final result turned out to be 20 ml.
The white precipitation produced in the first week indicated that the solution was
saturated. Because the solution contained not only N, P, K, water, and sulfate, but also other
substance from group IA such as Na. This substance have a point of saturation, that it needs
certain amount of water to be dissolved completely in water. It is also applied for other metal
such potassium. The amount of water added in the solution was not enough to dissolve the
compounds in the mixture. Thus, to make it dissolved completely, more water needs to be added.
After adding sulfate ion
After adding the sulfate ion into the solution, the pH of the solution was measure. It
appeared to be 8, which is not neutral. A few drops of acid was added to neutralize the solution.
This basicity was due to the substance used as the material. The material used mostly were a
slightly basic salt, such as sodium carbonate, and potassium carbonate. When the material were
mixed, the basicity was accumulated that it produced a basic solution at the end of the reaction.
As mentioned before, due to the amount of water that was used more than it predicted, all the
substance masses need to be divided by two to produce 10 ml of liquid fertilizer. Amounts of
substances needed to create 10ml liquid fertilizer:
Na
2
SO
4
= .145g (2% S)
(NH
4
)
2
CO
3
= 1.715g (10% N)

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Na
3
PO
4
= .1145g (1% P)
K
2
CO
3
= .366g (5% K)
H
2
O= 7.66g (ml)
The waste material from the product needed to be disposed properly into the hazardous
material disposal tank.

CONCLUSION
The experiment needed to take 3.43 gr of ammonium carbonate, 0.23 gr of sodium
phosphate, and 0.73 gr of potassium carbonate also 0.29 gr of sodium sulfate, theoretically, to
make 10 ml of liquid fertilizer. However, considering the saturation of some ions, it appears to
need twice amount of water. Thus, the substance required needs to be divided into two.
The successful synthesis of liquid fertilizer is indicated by the solubility of the material
when they were mixed together. The good liquid fertilizer will be a clear solution with neutral
pH between 6 and 7. The liquid fertilizer produced in this experiment meets the criterias
mentioned. The solution produced was a clear solution and contain neutral pH.
The amount of moles calculated at the result needed to be divided by 0.01 L (10ml) of the
total solution in order to find the molarities.
Final molarities of each ion will be .01M of sodium sulfate, 0.178M of ammonium
carbonate, 0.0069M of sodium phosphate, and 0.264M of potassium carbonate. The saturation
point property of the substance and also the original basic characteristic of the substance gave
significant effect for the experiment. It resulted in adding more water and adding a few drops of
acid into the liquid fertilizer product.

CHEM 1065 SPRING 2013 EVI SUSILOWATI

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The waste material needed to be disposed properly in the hazardous material disposal
tank.

REFERENCES
Feeco.com. http://feeco.com/2011/12/07/npk-fertilizer-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work
(accessed April 9, 2013), NPK Fertilizer: What is it and how does it Work?

Introduction to Chemistry Website.
http://intro.chem.okstate.edu/1215/lecture/chapter7/SolTab.gif (accessed April 11, 2013),
the solubility table.