How to Use Barium Chloride to Test for Sulfate

Written by oxana fox
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Barium chloride is an inorganic salt with the chemical formula BaCl2. The compound is readily soluble in water and is toxic. This salt is often used for a quick test for the presence of sulphate ions; for example, sodium sulphate (Na2SO4). The test is a common laboratory assignment in chemistry, and is based on the formation of barium sulphate, which is insoluble in water.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Beaker
  • Test tube
  • Barium chloride solution, 10 per cent
  • Pipette

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  1. 1

    Pour the solution you need to test into a small beaker or a test tube.

  2. 2

    Fill a pipette with the solution of barium chloride (BaCl2).

  3. 3

    Add five drops of the BaCl2 solution from the pipette to the test solution.

  4. 4

    Observe the test solution; the formation of white precipitate indicates the presence of sulphate ions. Note that reaction follows the equation: BaCl2 + Na2SO4 = BaSO4 + 2NaCl.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear protective gloves when working with barium chloride.

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