Atoms are all around us. They make up everything we know. Having a fundamental understanding of their properties and characteristics grants us the ability to analyse pretty much any substance and discern its chemical and atomic makeup. There are several ways of figuring out the chemical makeup of substances. In the matter and qualitative analysis unit of grade 12 chemistry, we look at some of the techniques chemists use to analyse matter. Specifically, we look at the use of mass spectrometers, flame tests, emission/absorption spectra, and lastly precipitation reactions.
In order to apply their knowledge and understanding of qualitative analysis, the grade 12 chemistry class was tasked with running a series of precipitation reactions in order to figure out the identity of an unknown chemical substance. Using their knowledge of precipitation reactions, solubility rules and net ionic equations, they observed a series of reactions between known substances and a single unknown sample. Using all of the aforementioned tools along with their recorded observations, they determined the identity of the unknown substance and reported their methods, observations, and conclusions in a formal lab report.