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Daniel Mifsud B.

Sc(Hons) Chem + Bio 1st yr

Practical group M

25 Oct 2008

Experiment 1 : Melting point determination


Aim : to determine the melting points, confirm identity and purity of organic solids. 1. Introduction : the melting point of a solid is the tempreture range at which it changes state from solid to liquid. Altough the phrase would suggest a specific tempreture (point) and is commonly and incorrectly used as such in most textbooks and literature, most crystalline compounds melt over a range of a few degrees. At the melting point the solid an liquid phase exist in equilibrium. When considered as the tempreture of the reverse change, it is referred to as the freezing point. A crystalline solid starts the melting process by softening and shrinking. This is followed by most of the solid running down to form a meniscus, until all the solid has turned to liquid. All this happens over a range, and this range can be referred to as the melting point. The purity of the crystal also reflects its melting point. Impure substances tend to have a lower meltng point than the pure substance. The procedure used to determine the melting point is by filling a capillary tube (with a closed end) with approximately 3mm of solid so that you end up with a loose but contiuous column of the solid. This tube is then inserted into the melting point apparatus. 4 tubes will be tsed for each sample so as to determine the average melting range. The melting tubes were only used once. The melting point apparatus recieves its samples to be melted in a closed capillary tube. It also has an eyepiece and a magnifier so as to see when thesample has melted. The tempreture is regulated from a knob and a thermometer that sits inside the apparatus reads the tempreture, enabling you to see at at what tempreture range the solid melted. 2. Method 2.1 Chemicals used : A : C7H7NO2 B : C7H6O2 C : C7H6O3 D: C7H5NO4 E : C9H8O2 M1 : N/A 2.2 Apparatus : watch glass, capillary tubes, Bunsen burner, spatula, glass rod, melting point apparatus, thermometer. 2.3 Procedure :
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Daniel Mifsud B.Sc(Hons) Chem + Bio 1st yr

Practical group M

25 Oct 2008

2.3.1 : A clean capillary tube was held over a Bunsen flame so as the melt and seal the ends 2.3.2 : A small amount of B was placed on a clean dry watch glass and powdered by means of a glass rod. 2.3.3 : Three or four capillaries were filled with powdered B till about a 3mm column of powder was obtained. 2.3.4 : One tube is placed in the melting point apparatus and the temperature was raised at a relatively fast rate. This was done so that an approximate melting temperature is obtained. 2.3.5 : The other two tubes were tested as well, only this time the temperature was raised slowly so that a more accurate result would be obtained. 2.3.6 : As the results were consistent, there was no need to repeat the procedure for more tubes Note : as the contents of each tube melted, the melting point apparatus was left to cool down by 15C from the melting temperature. This was done as a precaution so as to get reliable results. 2.3.7 : The results were written down in the laboratory booklet 2.3.8 : Steps 2-7 were repeated for substance M1 2.3.9 : It was found that the range at which M1 melted was very similar to that of E. This suggested that there was a possibility that M1 was in fact E, i.e. they have the same chemical formula. 2.3.10 : Thus E was termed M2 2.3.11 : So as to test this possibility, equal amounts of M1 and M2 were powdered together to produce M3 2.3.12 : Three tubes, one filled with M1 another with M2 and the other with M3, were placed together in the melting point apparatus. M3 was placed in the middle 2.3.13 : Step 12 was performed so as to check whether M1 and M2 are identical. If so, all three tubes should melt at the same temperature. 3. Results B : melting range : First reading Second reading Third reading 120-125C 116-126C 117-124C

Average range : 117.67-125C

Daniel Mifsud B.Sc(Hons) Chem + Bio 1st yr

Practical group M

25 Oct 2008

M1 : melting range :

First reading Second reading Third reading Fourth reading

129-136C 127-130C 128-133C 129-134C

Average range : 128.25-133.25C The melting point of M1 can be compared to that of substance E which melts at a range of 131-134C. This may indicate that M1 and E have the same chemical composition. If so, a 50:50 mixture of E and M1 should melt within the same range. This mixture has been named M3. M3 : melting range : First reading Second reading Third reading 120-123C 118-123C 117-122C

Average range : 118.33-122.67C From the results obtained, it can be said that although M1 melted within the range of E, they cannot be said to have the same chemical composition. When the tubes were placed at once : Substance E Substance M1 Substance M3 130-133C 128-134C 115-122C

Above results confirm that M1 and E are not the same. 4.Discussion : This simple experiment can be used to confirm the identity of the crystal, once several suggestions about what it may be have been made. The melting point can also shed light onto the symmetry of the crystal. High molecular symmetry, as Thomas Carnelley states, is associated with a high melting point. Many cage like compounds, for example cubane, has very high symmetry and thus very hih melting points (131C). Although a promising possibility of determining the chemical composition of M1 was thought to be near, we found out that M1 hasnt got the molecular formula of E. This was concluded because if E and M1 were the same, a 50 :50 mixture of the two would have melted within the same range. Although this experiment does not tell us the chemical formula of the M1, it surely tells us that the given chemicals were not the
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Daniel Mifsud B.Sc(Hons) Chem + Bio 1st yr

Practical group M

25 Oct 2008

same as M1. This experiment is exclusive rather that inclusive. It eliminates chemicals from the could be M1 list. Possible sources of error: a) Continuous staring at the thermometer will tire the eyes and thus the temperature reading may not have been correct. b) Not all the capillary tubes were filled with the same amount of substance c) The apparatus was not given enough time for it to cool down before the new capillary tube was inserted 5. Conclusion: The procedure could be improved by taking more samples from each chemical. Thus a more reliable average melting range could be obtained. If regular breaks are given to the thermometer observer, I believe that the temperature readings would be more accurate. The practical has eliminated the possibility that Chemicals A-E may have had the same chemical composition as that of M1. It has also shown that M1 has a highly symmetrical molecular arrangement due to its high melting point. 6. References : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubane http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melting_point http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molecular_symmetry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melting_point_apparatus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melting_point#Carnelley.E2.80.99s_Rule