Practical Chemistry

Experiment 5: The polarity of liquids


To estimate the polarity of some liquids


Individual dipoles within molecules may or may not cancel out, as they are vector quantities. If they cancel out, the molecule is non-polar, otherwise it exhibits polarity. This can be tested very simply by holding a charged elecrostatic rod alongside of a stream of liquid from a burette. If the liquid deflects its course it is polar.


You will be provided with burettes full of liquids to test. Charge the electrostatic rod and hold it next to the stream of liquid from the burette. Make sure that the liquid falls into the beaker provided for that purpose. When you have completed your test refill the burette from the beaker.

You should draw out the full structure of each liquid under investigation and explain the results of your experiment by referring to the structure.

Experimental report

The following factors must be considered:

  • Accurate recording of raw data
  • Choice of suitable apparatus and method
  • Presentation of raw data
  • Data analysis and presentation
  • Evaluation of errors both qualitative and numerical


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