A Firsthand Investigation on The Solvay Process

Industrial Chemistry > 6. The Solvay process has been in use since the 1860s > A Firsthand Investigation on The Solvay Process >

Perform a firsthand investigation to assess risk factors and then carry out a chemical step involved in the Solvay process, identifying any difficulties associated with the laboratory modelling of the step

Firsthand investigation to produce sodium hydrogen carbonate involving the Solvay process was modelled.

  • Methodology

First, prepare the materials needed such as ammoniated brine, dry ice (source of carbon dioxide) and conical flask. In a 500mL conical flask, add 200 mL of ammoniated brine. Then, add 2 spoonsful of dry ice into the flask and quickly close the fume cupboard.

  • Safety:
  1. Wear proper laboratory attire such as protective goggles to prevent poisonous aqueous ammonia from entering the eyes which can cause burns and irritation.
  2. Conduct the experiment in a fume cupboard to prevent toxic ammonia gas from being released into the atmosphere. High exposure to ammonia can damage the upper respiratory tract which can cause unconsciousness, narcosis and may lead to death.
  • Difficulties:
  1. The temperature for the reaction which is 0°C was not maintained.
  2. The reactor was not sealed; hence, ammonia was not collected.
  3. Some NaHCO3 crystals formed on the side of the conical flask.
  4. The amount of the starting material was relatively small; hence, only small amount of product was collected.
  • Justification:

The use of dry ice is to provide carbon dioxide as well as allowing the contents in flask to cool enabling NaHCO3 crystals to form.