Percent Yield Lab Report: Evaluating the Efficacy of Magnesium Oxide Production

Categories: Chemistry


The primary aim of this investigation is to utilize stoichiometric principles to ascertain the quantity of magnesium oxide (MgO) generated through a chemical reaction, specifically focusing on determining the percent yield. This assessment will help evaluate the feasibility of this reaction for commercial application.


In chemical reactions, the efficiency and practicality of a process are often gauged by the percent yield, a crucial metric that compares the actual amount of product obtained to the theoretical maximum possible amount, based on stoichiometric calculations.

This lab delves into the reaction between magnesium and oxygen to form magnesium oxide, a reaction pivotal in various industrial applications due to magnesium oxide's utility as a refractory material, among other uses. Through this experiment, we aim to not only understand the concept of percent yield but also to assess the commercial viability of producing magnesium oxide through this method.

Materials and Methodology


  • Virtual lab setup for Percent Yield
  • Magnesium ribbon of varied lengths
  • Crucible with lid


  • Controlled Variables: Duration of heat application
  • Independent Variable: Mass of magnesium ribbon
  • Dependent Variable: Mass of magnesium oxide produced

Procedure Summary

  1. Measure the mass of an empty crucible with its lid.

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  2. Cut a predetermined length of magnesium ribbon and weigh it with the crucible.
  3. Heat the magnesium ribbon in the closed crucible for a fixed duration of 10 minutes.
  4. Allow the crucible to cool before reweighing it to obtain the mass of the magnesium oxide produced.
  5. Record all measurements accurately for analysis.

Data and Analysis

Data Collection

The mass of the empty crucible with lid, the magnesium ribbon (Mg) before reaction, and the magnesium oxide (MgO) produced were meticulously recorded across two trials, ensuring precision in measurements to maintain significant figures consistency.

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Data Trial 1 Trial 2
Mass of empty crucible with lid 26.692 26.684
Mass of Mg metal, crucible, and lid 26.947 26.994
Mass of MgO, crucible, and lid 27.109 27.191


  • Chemical Reaction: 2Mg+O2→2MgO
  • The mass of magnesium and magnesium oxide for each trial was determined by subtracting the mass of the empty crucible from the total mass recorded, post-reaction.
  • The theoretical yield of MgO was calculated based on stoichiometry, considering magnesium as the limiting reactant.
  • Percent yield for each trial was computed by comparing the actual yield to the theoretical yield, followed by calculating an average percent yield from the trials.


Findings and Interpretations

The experiment demonstrated a percent yield exceeding 100% in one trial, indicating an anomaly typically attributable to experimental error or additional mass from external sources, such as atmospheric moisture absorption. The average percent yield, however, provides a useful metric for evaluating the reaction's efficiency.

Conservation of Mass

The observed increase in mass post-reaction aligns with the conservation of mass principle, given that oxygen from the air combines with magnesium, increasing the total mass as magnesium oxide forms. This outcome underscores the stoichiometric balance between reactants and products, despite the physical properties' variance.

Sources of Error and Improvements

Potential inaccuracies may stem from incomplete combustion of magnesium or measurement discrepancies. Physically, ensuring complete reaction and accurate weighing are critical. Experimentally, extending the heating duration could enhance reaction completeness, potentially aligning the percent yield closer to 100%.

Further Investigation

Exploring the effect of varying heating durations and magnesium amounts could provide deeper insights into optimizing the reaction for higher yields. Such adjustments could potentially mitigate sources of error and refine the process's commercial viability.


Repeated heating until constant mass is achieved ensures complete reaction of magnesium, minimizing errors and accurately reflecting the reaction's yield. Comparatively, our process's average yield suggests a potential for cost savings over a process with a 91% yield, provided the experimental findings are consistent and scalable. Recommendations for the company would include further optimization based on these findings, particularly focusing on maximizing reaction completeness and efficiency.

Recommendation to the Company

Considering the experiment's outcomes and the potential for achieving yields comparable or superior to the current process, it is advisable to conduct further scaled-up trials. These should incorporate multiple heating steps to ensure complete reaction and, consequently, a more accurate assessment of the process's commercial viability. The stoichiometric analysis and percent yield data underscore the importance of precise control over reactant quantities and reaction conditions, suggesting that with optimization, the process could offer a viable, cost-effective alternative for magnesium oxide production.

Updated: Feb 27, 2024
Cite this page

Percent Yield Lab Report: Evaluating the Efficacy of Magnesium Oxide Production. (2024, Feb 27). Retrieved from

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