Alum Synthesis

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Alum Synthesis: The Chemical Process of Recycling Aluminum

Introduction
By recycling aluminum cans, the costs and energy savings are dramatically more resourceful and efficient than producing aluminum from what it is naturally found in, bauxite ore. The process of recycling aluminum to produce potassium aluminum sulfate, a common alum, will be done through a serious of chemical reactions. Through this reaction, percent yield will be determined.

Materials and Methods
The mass of a 250 mL beaker is measured, and .9 to 1.2 grams of aluminum can pieces are added to the beaker. The mass of the beaker and aluminum pieces is recorded. These two masses are then used to determine the initial mass of aluminum being reacted in this experiment. 50 mL of 1.4 M KOH is then added to the beaker and placed upon a hot plate under a fume hood to fumigate any escaping gases during the reaction, which should take no longer than 30 minutes. The heat from the hot plate speeds the reaction, and the reaction mixture must be kept no lower than 25 mL by adding distilled water. An aspirator is assembled by using a suction flask, clamp, ring stand, rubber tubing, funnel, and filter paper to filter the reaction mixture once the first reaction is complete. The filter paper is then wetted, the vacuum source is turned on, and the mixture is poured through the filter, using 5 mL of distilled water to rinse the beaker. The filter will catch all the dark filtrate from the aluminum can pieces, and the suction flask will contain a clear (transparent) solution. The solution is then transferred to a clean 250 mL beaker, and the suction flask is rinsed with 10 mL distilled water to insure all the remaining solution is transferred to the clean beaker. The beaker is placed in an ice bath to cool the solution, filling the beaker three fourths full with ice and cold water. 20 mL of 6.0 M sulfuric acid is measured and slowly added to the mixture, using a stirring rod to mix. Heat the mixture on a...
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