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Chemical Equilibrium

Le Chatelier’s Principle Teaching Notes


GENERAL COMMENTS SOLUTION PREPARATION

In science classes it is common to Mass solute needed; dilute


distinguish between physical changes and Solution
to 1 L with distilled water
chemical changes by declaring that physical
changes are reversible (e.g. the freezing and 0.1 M K2CrO4 19 g K2CrO4
melting of water) while chemical changes
are not. It is useful for students to observe 0.1 M K2Cr2O7 29 g K2Cr2O7
examples of chemical changes that are 16 g FeCl3 dissolved in 50
reversible. 0.1 M FeCl3 mL 6M HCl. Dilute to 1 L
with distilled water
An important concept of equilibrium is that
certain stresses cause equilibrium to shift. 0.1M KSCN 10 g
These stresses are concentration,
pressure/volume (for gaseous equilibrium 0.1 M KCl 7g
systems), and temperature. This lab
exercise examines the effects of changing 2.6 g CoCl2 . 6 H2O, dilute
ion concentration and temperature on to total solution volume of
equilibrium systems. 0.2 M CoCl2 . 100 mL (not 1 L). Add
6 H2O enough concentrated HCl to
make this solution turn
blule.
PURPOSE

ƒ To observe the effect of various stresses


(ion concentration; temperature) on
equilibrium systems.

SAFETY

1. Use extreme caution when handling the


acidified cobalt(II) chloride hexahydrate,
CoCl2. 6 H2O. HCl, used to make the
acidified solution, is highly corrosive.

Any spills should be reported immediately.


Spills on the skin should be flushed with
cold water.
2. Potassium chromate, K2CrO4 is a hazardous
substance. Use with care.
3. Use caution when using the hot water bath.

Le Chatelier’s Principle 1
SAMPLE RESULTS

Part 1. Chromate – Dichromate Equilibrium Part 2. Iron(III) – Thiocyanate Ion Complex

2 CrO42-(aq) + 2 H3O+(aq) Cr2O7-(aq) + 3H2O(l) Fe3+(aq) + SCN-(aq) Fe(SCN)2+(aq)

yellow orange light brown red

Solution Test Stress Initial Final


Tube Applied Color Color

K2CrO4 initial colour yellow light


1 Control --
brown

light darker
HCl added orange 2 Fe3+ added
brown red

light
NaOH added yellow 3 SCN- added darker red
brown
Cl- added: very light
decreases light
K2Cr2O7 initial colour orange 4 brown to
[Fe3+] brown
clear

NaOH added yellow Comments.

HCl added orange


The addition of either reactant, Fe3+ or SCN-,
causes the equilibrium to shift to the right, or

Comments. product side, causing a deepening of the colour.


Adding more Cl- ions causes Fe3+ to be
Adding an acid will increase the concentration
removed from the solution (due to the
of H3O+ ions in the equilibrium system, forcing
formation of FeCl4-). The decrease in the
the equilibrium to shift to the right, or product
concentration of Fe3+ causes the equilibrium to
side. This is demonstrated by the solution
shift to the left, or reactant side, which results
becoming orange.
in a lightening of the colour of the solution.

Adding a base reduces the concentration of


H3O+ ions in the solution, causing equilibrium
to shift to the left, or reactant side. This is
demonstrated by the solution becoming yellow.

Le Chatelier’s Principle 2
Part 3. Cobalt(II) Chloride Complex;
Effect of Temperature

This allows us to predict, in simplified form, on


[CoCl4]2- + 6 H2O [Co(H2O)6]2+ + 4 Cl-
which side of the equation the energy term
blue pink
should appear:
blue pink + heat
Temperature Solution Colour
or
[CoCl4]2- + 6 H2O [Co(H2O)6]2+ + 4 Cl- + heat
room temperature blue

hot water bath blue

cold water bath pink

Comments.

According to Le Châtelier’s Principle, adding


heat to an equilibrium system favors the
endothermic reaction. Since the equilibrium
favored the blue side in the hot water bath we
can conclude that the reverse reaction is the
endothermic direction.

Conversely, Le Châtelier’s Principle tells us


that the removal of heat favors the exothermic
direction. When placed in the cold water bath
the solution turned pink; thus the forward
direction is the exothermic direction.

Le Chatelier’s Principle 3
CONCLUSIONS AND QUESTIONS

Part 1. Chromate – Dichromate Equilibrium Part 2. Iron(III) – Thiocyanate Ion


Comlex

1. Use Le Chatelier’s Principle to explain the 2. Use Le Chatelier’s Principle to explain the
color changes observed in both test tubes color changes observed in Test Tubes 2 – 3
with the addition of both HCl and NaOH. with the addition of both FeCl3, KSCN, and
KCl.
2 CrO42-(aq) + 2 H3O+(aq) Cr2O7-(aq) + 3H2O(l)
Fe3+(aq) + SCN-(aq) Fe(SCN)2+(aq)
yellow orange
light brown red
Adding HCl, an acid, increases the
concentration of H3O+ ions; adding NaOH,
a base, decreases the concentration of H3O+
ions.

Le Chatelier’s Principle 4