Understanding Enthalpy in Neutralization Reactions

Part 1. Introduction to temperature changes of solutions
When substances in solution are mixed together reactions can occur and can lead to heat
being transferred either into or out of the system. When heat is transferred into the system the
reaction is absorbing heat and is called endothermic; conversely, when heat is transferred out of
the system the reaction is releasing heat and is called exothermic. Many reactions are exothermic
and one example is a reaction between an acid and a base, called a neutralization reaction.
When acids and bases react with each other the products are salt and water. Neutralization
reactions can be partial or complete and the amount of heat generated depends on how much
neutralization occurs; in terms of moles, how much neutralization occurs is determined by the
limiting reagent, which in this case is either the acid or the base. During a partial neutralization
salt and water are produced, however, there will be some acid or base that will remain unreacted.
The maximum heat will be produced in a complete neutralization, when neither the acid nor the
base is a limiting reagent. In this experiment you will record the temperature changes caused by
mixing equimolar solutions of HCl, the strong acid, and NaOH, the strong base in different
proportions, and determine the heat of neutralization for the reaction.
Part 2. Procedure (note: do steps 2 and 3 together)
1. Obtain the volumes of HCl and NaOH needed for each mixture shown in Data Table 1
using two 20.0 mL graduated cylinders (one for HCl, one for NaOH), and
2. Mix these solutions in a 25 or 50 mL beaker labeled “mix” in the same style as shown in
Figure 1 according to the different volumes indicated in Data Table 1.
3. Record the room temperature once and the temperatures of the mixtures upon mixing in
Data Table 1. Discard mixtures in a 250 mL waste beaker after each determination. Rinse
and dry the “mix” beaker in-between determinations.
4. Plot the results in Figure 2.
5. Discard the accumulated waste in the proper container when the experiment is complete.

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