Percentage of water in a hydrate- Copper(II) sulphate pentahydrate (CuSO4 ·5 H2O)

 Percentage of water in a hydrate- Copper(II) sulphate pentahydrate (CuSO4 ·5 H2O)

Aim / Objective:

To determine the percentage of water in a hydrate


Many pure substances combine with water in a fixed mole ratio to yield compounds called hydrates. For example, copper sulphate combines with water to form crystalline, CuSO4. 5H2O, which is a stable compound at normal atmospheric conditions. All pure samples of this hydrate show the same percentage of water by analysis. Thus, this hydrated compound obeys the law of constant composition. Upon heating a sample of such a hydrate, it may lose all its water of hydration and revert to the anhydrous salt. Substances which have adsorbed water on the surface do not show constant composition and therefore are not hydrates. An example of this would be common table salt, NaCl, which becomes very sticky on humid, summer days. In these cases, the percentage of water is not constant for all samples of a particular compound, and the water is not chemically bonded as part of the crystal structure.

Other examples of hydrates are Nickel (II) sulfate hexahydrate – (NiSO4 ·6 H2O), lithium perchlorate trihydrate ( LiClO4 . 3H2), aluminum potassium sulfate dodecahydrate – (AlK(SO4)2 ·12 H2O) and magnesium carbonate pentahydrate – (MgCO3 ·5 H2O.)

In this experiment the percentage of water in a hydrate will be determined in an known hydrate. Water is removed from the hydrate by heating an accurately weighed hydrate sample until the residue has reached a constant weight. The percentage of water in the sample is calculated by using the weight of water lost and the initial hydrate sample weight multiplied by 100.

Materials/ Apparatus:

Porcelain crucible and cover, clay triangle, tripod stand, Bunsen burner, flint, tongs,1.000g  Copper(II) sulphate pentahydrate (CuSO4 ·5 H2O(s) , watch glass

 Method / Procedure:

  1. Clean and dry a porcelain crucible and cover.
  2. Place the empty crucible on a covered crucible on a clay triangle supported by a ring on a ring stand.
  3. Heat the crucible and cover in the hottest flame of the Bunsen burner for 5 minutes. Ensure that a dull red glow is observed on the crucible and cover.
  4. Cool the crucible and cover to room temperature for approximately 15 minutes.
  5. Using crucible tongs transfer the crucible and cover to a watch glass and weigh them to the nearest 0.001g.
  6. Add 1g of the 1.000g CuSO4 ·5 H2O(s) to the crucible and weigh the covered crucible to the nearest 0.001g.
  7. Place the covered crucible on the clay triangle with the cover slightly opened.
  8. Heat the crucible gently for a few minutes. Continue to heat for 15 minutes.
  9. Then allow the crucible to cool on the triangle after removing the flame until it reaches room temperature.
  10. Transfer it to the watch glass and weigh the covered crucible to the nearest 0.001g.
  11. Reheat the crucible and contents for about 5minutes. Cool, and then weigh again.
  12. Repeat this heating, cooling and weighing sequence for a total of two readings .
  13. Tabulate results, and complete calculations for the percentage of water in the copper(II) sulphate.

Suggested Results: 

Table showing the results of the heating and cooling of Copper(II) sulphate pentahydrate (CuSO4 ·5 H2O) to find the percentage hydrate in water

Table showing the results of the heating and cooling of Copper(II) sulphate pentahydrate (CuSO4 ·5 H2O) to find the percentage hydrate in water

Use the results from your experiment. Your teacher may request that you use a evaporating dish instead of a crucible and cover which would may the results above slightly different but the concept is the same.

percentage hydrate snippet


  1. Write the formula for the reaction

>>>CuSO4 ·5 H2O(s)  +  HEAT =  CuSO4 (s)  +  5 H2O (g)

2. Calculate the experimental measurement of the percent hydration:

  •       Mass of hydrate before heating =  1.000g
  •       Mass of hydrate after heating = 0.6400g
  •       Difference- mass of water lost = 0.3600g

Experimental Measurement of percent hydrate

  • (0.3600g/1.000g) x 100=36%

3. Calculate the theoretical percentage hydration from the formula.

percentage hydrate snippet2








4.Using the theoretical value and the experimental values calculate the percent error

percentage hydrate snippet3







Source of Error/ Limitations/ Assumptions: 

– Allowing the crucible to cool to room temperature before weighting as if not cooled then convection currents will lower the mass and resulting in incorrect results

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