Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Precipitation is the condensation of a solid from a solution during a chemical reaction. This occurs when the solution is supersaturated, whereupon the solid forms from the solute phase, and usually sinks to the bottom of the solution.
This effect is useful in many industrial and scientific applications whereby a chemical reaction may produce a solid that can be collected from the solution by various methods (e.g. filtration, decanting, centrifuging).
Detection of cations
Precipitate formation is useful in detecting the type of cation in an unknown salt. To do this, an alkali first reacts with the unknown salt to produce a precipitate which is the hydroxide of the unknown salt.
To identify the cation, the colour of the precipitate and its solubility in excess are noted.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details