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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 18 (2013) pp 028-030
DOI 10.1007/s00897132449a

A Visual Model for Simplifying and Understanding Molar Solubility and Ksp Calculations for Sparingly Soluble Salts in a General Chemistry Setting

Sarah Hopkins, Elizabeth Palmieri, and Charles D. Norris*

Department of Chemistry, College of Science, University of Findlay, Findlay, OH 45840 norrisc@findlay.edu Received June 11, 2012.
Accepted August 10, 2012.

Published: 15 Febuary 2013

Abstract. Equilibrium theory and application is challenging to some undergraduate students. A simple model is presented that reduces the magnitudes of the involved figures to smaller, more manageable numbers, while retaining clear visualization of the concepts of solubility, saturation, and precipitation as governed by the solubility product constant of a salt. Opportunities to gain a better visual understanding of the stoichiometry of ionic reactions, at very low cost, using common and easily obtainable implements, are demonstrated through this same model. Weaknesses of the model are also addressed. Overall, the proposed model is intended to provide a visual and/or kinesthetic “stepping stone” for the undergraduate student towards a better understanding of the principles governing aqueous equilibrium processes involving sparingly soluble salts, and the accompanying calculations.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; high school/introductory chemistry; first year undergraduate/general; demonstrations; hands-on learning/manipulatives; precipitation/solubility

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: norrisc@findlay.edu )

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