Gas Production in Chemical Reactions: Experimental Analysis and Efficiency Assessment

Categories: Chemistry


  • Beaker Volume: 0.13 L
  • Temperature: 293 Kelvin
  • Airbag Volume: 0.75 L
  • Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) Solution: 1 Molar
  • Acetic Acid (CH3COOH) Solution: 6 Molar
  • Ambient Pressure: 1.01 atmospheres

Theoretical Expectations:

  • Predicted change in pressure for hydrogen gas production reactions: 0.3 atm

Actual Results (Hydrogen Gas Production):

  1. Mg(s) + 2HCl(aq) → MgCl2(aq) + H2(g)
    • Trial 1: Initial Pressure (Pi) = 1.01 atm, Final Pressure (Pf) = 1.2246 atm, Change in Pressure (ΔP) = 0.21 atm, Yield: 70%
    • Trial 2: Pi = 1.

      01 atm, Pf = 1.277 atm, ΔP = 0.26 atm, Yield: 86.7%

  2. 2HCl(aq) + NaCO3(s) → 2NaCl(aq) + H2O(l) + CO2(g)
    • Trial 1: Pi = 1.01 atm, Pf = 1.275 atm, ΔP = 0.265 atm, Yield: 83.33%
    • Trial 2: Pi = 1.01 atm, Pf = 1.279 atm, ΔP = 0.269 atm, Yield: 89.67%

*Note: Experiments with a defective beaker that leaked were excluded.

Airbag Inflation Results:

  • Na2CO3(s) + 2CH3COOH(aq) → 2CH3COONa(aq) + H2O(l) + CO2(g)
      • Theoretically, 3.339 grams of Na2CO3 would inflate the airbag.
      • The observed inflation was not maximal due to the non-ideal nature of carbon dioxide as a gas.
      • A milky white solution was produced, and the airbag became noticeably warm.

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    The objective of this laboratory experiment is to explore the production of gases in chemical reactions and analyze the efficiency of the reactions through theoretical and actual yield calculations. Two reactions were investigated: the reaction between magnesium and hydrochloric acid (HCl) and the reaction between sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) and acetic acid (CH3COOH). Theoretical expectations were compared with actual results, and considerations were made for Van der Waals corrections.

    Part 1: Magnesium and Hydrochloric Acid Reaction

    Theoretical Calculation:

    Given Parameters:

        • Beaker Volume (V): 0.13 L
        • Temperature (T): 298 K
        • Initial Pressure (Pi): 1.

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          00 atm

        • Final Pressure (Pf): 1.3 atm

    Using the Ideal Gas Law (PV = nRT), the theoretical amount of gas produced (H2) was calculated to be 0.00159 moles.

    Molar Proportions:

        • 0.00159 moles H2 → 0.00159 moles Mg needed
        • 0.00159 moles H2 → 0.00318 moles of HCl needed

    Actual Calculation: Using the experimental change in pressure (ΔP = Pf - Pi = 0.3 atm) and the ideal gas law, the actual moles of gas produced (H2) were calculated to be 0.00138 moles.

    Percent Yield: Percent Yield=Actual MolesTheoretical Moles×100=0.001380.00159×100=86.9%Percent Yield=Theoretical MolesActual Moles​×100=0.001590.00138​×100=86.9%

    Part 2: Sodium Carbonate and Acetic Acid Reaction

    Theoretical Calculation:

    Given Parameters:

        • Initial Pressure (Pi): 1.01 atm
        • Airbag Volume (V): 0.75 L
        • Temperature (T): 293 K

    Using the Ideal Gas Law, the theoretical moles of gas needed to fill the airbag were calculated to be 0.0315 moles.

    Molar Proportions:

        • 0.0315 moles Na2CO3 → 3.34 g needed
        • 0.063 moles CH3COOH → 0.0105 L needed

    Actual Calculation: 3.339 grams of Na2CO3 were used, and excess acetic acid (0.015 L) was added.

    Van der Waals Correction: The non-ideality of carbon dioxide was considered, and corrections were made to account for the Van der Waals forces.

    Discussion: The percent yield for the magnesium and hydrochloric acid reaction indicates that 86.9% of the expected hydrogen gas was produced. The sodium carbonate and acetic acid reaction, which aimed to inflate the airbag, achieved practical success with the observed inflation. The theoretical and actual results were consistent, providing confidence in the experimental methodology.

    Conclusion: The laboratory experiment successfully explored gas production reactions and demonstrated the application of theoretical calculations in predicting and analyzing results. The inclusion of molar proportions and considerations for Van der Waals forces enhanced the accuracy of the analysis. The percent yields reflected the efficiency of the reactions, contributing valuable insights into the practical aspects of chemical reactions.

    Magnesium and Hydrochloric Acid Reaction:

    Parameter Value
    Theoretical Moles 0.00159
    Actual Moles 0.00138
    Percent Yield
    1. 86.9%

    Sodium Carbonate and Acetic Acid Reaction:

    Parameter Value
    Theoretical Moles 0.0315
    Actual Na2CO3 (grams) 3.339
    Excess CH3COOH (Liters) 0.015


        1. The anticipated pressure change for both reactions was 0.3 atm; however, the sodium carbonate reaction exhibited a higher pressure and significantly higher yield compared to the magnesium reaction. The average yield for magnesium was 78.35%, while sodium carbonate showed an average yield of 86.5%. This discrepancy suggests a higher proportion of sodium carbonate reacted or that carbon dioxide, being a larger molecule, contributed to the observed pressure.
        2. An identified source of error could be the incomplete reactions at the time of pressure readings. After recording final pressures, a gradual increase in pressure was noticed, indicating ongoing reactions. This could lead to lower recorded pressures and, consequently, lower observed yields.
        3. The substantial difference in yields between the sodium carbonate and magnesium reactions can be attributed to the size of the gas molecules. Carbon dioxide molecules occupy more space than hydrogen molecules. In a rigid container, the effective volume filled by carbon dioxide is smaller than that filled by hydrogen. This results in a higher observed pressure and yield for the sodium carbonate reaction.

    Post Lab Questions:

        1. The theoretical moles needed to fill the airbag were 0.0315 moles.
        2. The incomplete inflation of the airbag is attributed to the non-ideal behavior of carbon dioxide. Real gas particles attract each other, leading to less frequent collisions with the container walls compared to an ideal gas. This reduced collision frequency results in incomplete inflation, requiring more gas particles to fully fill the bag.
        3. Considering the Van der Waals correction, the moles of CO2 required to fill the bag increase to 0.3164. This represents a 0.4% increase in the number of moles needed, emphasizing the impact of real gas behavior on the accuracy of theoretical predictions.
Updated: Feb 29, 2024
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Gas Production in Chemical Reactions: Experimental Analysis and Efficiency Assessment. (2024, Feb 29). Retrieved from

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