Gas Volume Determination Lab Report

Categories: Chemistry


In this experiment, the volume of gas produced from the reaction between an unknown carbonate salt and hydrochloric acid was determined. Additionally, the identity of the unknown carbonate salt was established through calculations and observations. The ideal gas law, Boyle's law, Charles' law, and Gay-Lussac's law were applied to analyze the results. The experiment concluded that the unknown carbonate salt was Lithium Carbonate (Li2CO3).


The four standard physical properties of a gas sample are pressure, volume, temperature, and the number of moles.

Gases, unlike solids and liquids, do not have a definite shape or volume. They disperse into their container, filling the entire available space and exhibiting a high degree of freedom of movement. The temperature of a gas represents the average kinetic energy of its particles and must be measured in Kelvin. Pressure reflects the frequency of collisions between gas particles and the walls of the container. The number of moles indicates the quantity of gas particles present.

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Many chemical reactions produce gases as products. For instance, reactions involving metal carbonates reacting with an acid result in the production of gaseous carbon dioxide. The objective of this experiment is to determine the volume of gas produced during the reaction between a metal carbonate and hydrochloric acid. Furthermore, the experiment aims to identify the specific carbonate salt involved.

Pre-Lab Questions:

  1. If the temperature is increased, the speed of gas particles also increases. This is because higher temperatures lead to greater kinetic energy of the gas particles, causing them to move faster.

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  2. The formula to convert Celsius temperature to Kelvin is: °C + 273.15 = K.
  3. The basic conditions for a gas involve standard temperature (273.15 K) and pressure (1 atmosphere or 101.3 kPa). It is essential to confirm whether these conditions are met in the laboratory.
  4. Boyle's Law states that the volume of a given mass of an ideal gas is inversely proportional to its pressure, as long as temperature remains constant. The ideal gas law, which encompasses Boyle's Law, is represented as: P1V1 = P2V2. Charles' Law states that the volume of a fixed quantity of gas at constant pressure is directly proportional to the Kelvin temperature of the gas (V/T = K). Gay-Lussac's Law establishes a direct proportionality between pressure and temperature when volume remains constant (P1/T1 = P2/T2).
  5. The Perfect Gas Law in formula form is: PV = nRT, where R is the proportionality constant with units of (L·atm)/(mol·K). The units are crucial for ensuring that the equation is dimensionally consistent.
  6. The balanced equations for the reactions of CaCO3, BaCO3, Li2CO3, and Na2CO3 with hydrochloric acid are as follows:
    • CaCO3 + 2HCl → CaCl2 + H2O + CO2
    • BaCO3 + 2HCl → BaCl2 + H2O + CO2
    • Li2CO3 + 2HCl → 2LiCl + H2O + CO2
    • Na2CO3 + 2HCl → 2NaCl + H2O + CO2
  7. The molar mass of the four metallic carbonates is calculated as follows:
      • For Li2CO3:
        • Molar mass = mass/mole = 3.0036 g / 0.0344 mol = 87.31 g/mol


  • 3.0 M HCl (aq)
  • 5 ml graduated cylinder
  • Balloon
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Weighing paper
  • 3 g of unknown #2 carbonate salt
  • Funnel

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Measure out 5 ml of 3.0 M HCl into the graduated cylinder.
  2. Weigh 3 g of the unknown carbonate salt.
  3. Using a funnel, pour the unknown carbonate salt into the balloon.
  4. Place the open end of the balloon over the graduated cylinder and secure it with a string, ensuring a tight seal to prevent gas leakage.
  5. Empty the contents of the balloon into the graduated cylinder containing the 3.0 M HCl.
  6. After the gas fills the balloon, measure the circumference of the balloon using a string.


The following results were obtained during the experiment:

Experiment Parameter Value
Volume of HCl (V1) 5 ml
Mass of unknown carbonate salt 3.0 g
Initial circumference of balloon 30 cm
Final circumference of balloon 40 cm

Using the data above, we can calculate the volume of gas produced by applying the ideal gas law, Boyle's law, Charles' law, and Gay-Lussac's law.


The experiment aimed to determine the volume of gas produced during the reaction between an unknown carbonate salt and hydrochloric acid and identify the specific carbonate salt. The results indicate that the unknown carbonate salt is Lithium Carbonate (Li2CO3).

By applying the ideal gas law (PV = nRT), we can calculate the number of moles of gas produced. Using Boyle's law, we can establish the initial and final volumes of the gas. Charles' law allows us to relate volume and temperature, and Gay-Lussac's law relates pressure and temperature. By combining these laws and the data collected, we can determine the identity of the unknown carbonate salt.

However, it is important to acknowledge potential sources of error in the experiment. One source of error could be the manner in which the balloon was held while emptying its contents into the hydrochloric acid. This could have affected the radius of the balloon, leading to discrepancies in the calculations. Additionally, variations in the atmospheric conditions in the laboratory may have influenced the results. Ensuring that the experiment is conducted under standard temperature and pressure conditions is critical for accurate results.


Based on the experiment, equations, and calculations, it was determined that the unknown Carbonate Salt for Unknown #2 was Lithium Carbonate (Li2CO3). The molar mass of Li2CO3 was calculated to be approximately 87.31 g/mol.

There could be several factors contributing to the 18.1% error observed in the experiment. The way the balloon was handled when tipping it over the acid may have significantly affected the radius of the balloon, leading to inaccuracies in the volume measurements. Additionally, variations in atmospheric conditions may have influenced the results. Conducting the experiment under strict standard temperature and pressure conditions is crucial to minimize errors.


To improve the accuracy of future experiments, the following recommendations are made:

  1. Ensure strict adherence to standard temperature and pressure conditions.
  2. Exercise caution when handling the balloon to minimize variations in volume measurements.
  3. Consider conducting multiple trials to obtain more reliable data and reduce experimental errors.
Updated: Dec 29, 2023
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Gas Volume Determination Lab Report. (2016, Dec 14). Retrieved from

Gas Volume Determination Lab Report essay
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