How to Dissolve Gypsum With HCL

Written by j.d. richards
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How to Dissolve Gypsum With HCL
A common fine-grained or white-tinted variety of gypsum is called alabaster. (Yashuhide Fumoto/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Gypsum is a soft, pale, calcium-based mineral. When used in masonry and other construction work, it is often called plaster of Paris. Gypsum dissolves easily in a warm solution of dilute hydrochloric acid. Researchers use this method to dissolve gypsum in soils when the mineral is getting in the way of their soil research.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 25g of gypsum-containing soil sample
  • 25ml of a 2M solution of hydrogen chloride
  • 500ml water
  • Electric stirrer
  • Beaker
  • Goggles
  • Gloves

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  1. 1

    Put the soil sample in the beaker, and add 25 millileters of 2M hydrogen chloride.

  2. 2

    Add 500 millileters of water.

  3. 3

    Use the electric stirrer on the mixture for a full hour. Allow it to clear and decant. Sparse crystals of gypsum should appear on the sides of the beaker.

  4. 4

    Continue shaking and decanting until no further gypsum crystals can be seen.

Tips and warnings

  • Hydrochloric acid is a corrosive agent. Always wear protection for your eyes and hands when handling it.

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