Ceramic Fixative Lab

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December 19th, 2012

Ms. Kathleen Sylva
Head Researcher
Ceramic Artisans

Dear Ms. Sylva,

In ionic and covalent bonds, there are many properties that make up each bond. Ionic bonds between a metal and a nonmetal are stronger than covalent bonds, have high melting and boiling points, and can conduct electricity in water. This is because the electrons are transferred, completing the valence electron shell and making the atom stable. Covalent bonds between nonmetals have weaker bonds, low melting and boiling points, and do not conduct electricity. Since electrons are shared in covalent bonds, they have slightly different properties than ionic-bonded compounds. Based on these properties, the best compound for your ceramic fixative would be sodium chloride (NaCl), because it has an ionic bond, has a high melting and boiling point, is electrically conductive, dries white, and can dissolve in water but not in alcohol. When we conducted this experiment, we used distilled water to test if the compounds were transparent when dissolved and white when dried on a glass surface. By using distilled water, we made sure that there weren’t any other minerals in the water that might affect the results. We used a Bunsen burner and heated small samples to see if the compound had a high melting point. Then, we checked if they dissolved in water. We used different beakers and tested if they dissolved in ethyl alcohol. Finally, we used the distilled water & compound solution and a conductivity meter to see if it was electrically conductive or not. The compound that my team recommended is sodium chloride (NaCl), or table salt. All of the compounds were white when dried on a clear glass surface. We found that both sodium carbonate and sodium chloride had high melting points, because only salicylic acid and sucrose both melted in less than a minute. Sodium chloride and salicylic acid were both transparent when mixed with distilled water. Sucrose, sodium chloride, and sodium...
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