Sunday, September 12, 2010

Eric's Salt Properties

As I was thinking about which household item I should choose, I immediately thought about salt (NaCl).  As with all matter, it has both physical and chemical properties.  I set out to explore what these were for salt.

All experiments in this project involving water use distilled water to insure accuracy.  Distilled water is free from ions, dissolved carbon, bacteria, and other contaminants.

Physical Property- A property that can be measured or observed without altering the composition of the substance.
The following are physical properties of sodium chloride.

1) Color- Sodium chloride appears clear to white.
2) Physical State- At room temperature, sodium chloride is a solid.

3) Crystallinity- Sodium chloride takes a cubic shape, with sharp edges.

4) Solubility- Sodium chloride is soluble in water forming a homogeneous mixture.
5) Electrical Conductivity- Sodium chloride has the ability to conduct electricity, as seen in the video. (This video was too long to upload directly onto this website.  Please click on the link below and it will take you to

Eric's Electricity Conductivity Video

Chemical Property- A property in which a substance has the ability to undergo a chemical change.
The following are chemical properties of sodium chloride.

1) Odorless- Sodium chloride has no odor.

2) Changing flame color- When sodium chloride is heated using a Bunsen burner, the sodium emits a yellow-orange light.  In the same way, sodium gas is used in street lights and emits a very bright, yellow-orange glow.

3) pH- Sodium chloride has a neutral pH (about 7).

Pool pH test strips used in the experiment.

They are very similar! (Distilled water on left. Distilled water containing NaCl on right.)
4) Flammability – Sodium chloride is nonflammable.  Sodium chloride does not burn or sustain a flame on its own.
Note that I am wearing safety goggles!

5) Taste- Sodium chloride has a very distinctive and desired taste.  Used in many foods, sodium chloride tastes salty.  In this experiment, I eat salt-coated pretzels.



  1. Eric, I thought you blog was really well written. Salt was a good item to choose to experiment with. I liked how you defined what a chemical and physical property was, as well as providing the information that you used distilled water. The pictures were all great and provided an excellent visual sense. I think in number three in the chemical properties section you could have explained more in writing, although the video was good. Overall, your blog had great experiments and the explanations were all complete, along with the videos and pictures.

  2. I liked the experiment that was used to test the conductivity of sodium chloride. Not only was it a very strait forward experiment but i also think that is did a very good job in showing the change of reaction when more sodium chloride was added. Also i think that it is a good experiment because it is not too complex which makes it easier to follow and recreate if people would like too on their own.

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  4. Hey Eric! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog posting about sodium chloride, or in layman’s terms, salt. Not only was your posting thorough, but it was not too long as to become boring to the reader. I enjoyed how you gave additional information regarding the setup of your labs and your descriptions such as how you used distilled water and your explanations using ions. I also liked your graphic on the crystalline structure of sodium chloride. In general, great job. Your blog is sleek and your posting is well documented with the many pictures. Possibly, you could have explored some more of the chemical reactions that salt could have when placed in other household chemicals such as vinegar. Last, one small question: what is the difference between chemical property number two and chemical property number four? They seem to conflict. Is it that salt in it self is not flammable but causes a flame to change color when placed in it?