Lab 1: Effect of pH on sodium benzoate, a food preservative
Sheikh M Zakaria
Person no. 36295651
TA: Synthia Gratia
Date of Submission: 05/29/13
Abstract Sodium Benzoate is a common food preservative used in food products such as jams and jellies, soft drinks, pickles, condiments etc and in tinned products in the market. This experiment aimed to determine whether benzoic acid is formed from it’s superior soluble form sodium benzoate in stomach acid, which is simulated by HCl (pH=2). It has been seen that at a low optimum pH, i.e. in the presence of sufficient hydrochloric acid, sufficient benzoic acid is yielded. The percentage yield is determined from the calculations of the theoretical (stoichiometric) calculations and the actual…show more content… The percentage yield calculation reveals that approximately 90% of benzoic acid as white precipitate were recovered from the reaction. There were a number of factors which might have contributed to the 10% deficiency in the final yield. It needs to be mentioned though that a percentage yield of less than 100% is achieved because the drying of the solid mass after vacuum filtration was sufficient to give a practical number. During measurements of mass of benzoate and benzoic acid when it’s formed, there were obvious human errors involved. Some benzoates were lost while transferring to the conical reaction vial from the watch glasses, and further loss of the product benzoic acid might have taken place when the solution mixture was tipped on the Hirsh funnel. We couldn’t determine if the reaction was complete or not, so we might not have had all the salt converted 4. The solution might not have sufficiently and gradually cooled though every effort was made for that, hence there could be lack of benzoic acid crystals forming.
The litmus test might have contributed to a significant loss of the precipitate, but only one instead of multiple tests were performed to see if the reaction mixture was acidic enough. Given the carefully controlled experiments and the 90% yield, it can be deemed that the methods used to perform the experiments are full proof and performed as immaculately as possible.