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Alum Lab - Unit 10 Alum Crystallization Alum or aluminum...

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Unit 10 Alum Crystallization Alum, or aluminum potassium sulfate, is used for many things, including dyeing, printing fabrics, making paper, adhesives, explosives, ammonia, etc. It forms soft beveled triangular crystals that are sometimes used in jewelry. If ingested it causes muscle contractions and is used sometimes by vetrenarians. You might say that if you eat it, it will cause you to pucker. This is not to say that you should experiment with eating or drinking any chemical used or made in the laboratory. Our interest is going to be in crystal formation. The overall reaction we will use is as follows: Al + KOH + 2 H 2 SO 4 + 11 H 2 O KAl(SO 4 ) 2 12H 2 O + 3/2 H 2 If we mix aluminum metal with potassium hydroxide the complex Al(OH) 4 - forms. With the slow addition of sulfuric acid, a solid Al(OH) 3 will form as a lumpy mass briefly and then, upon heating, will dissolve completely. If allowed to stand for a sufficient time, large soft beveled triangular crystals of alum will form.
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