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How to Dissolve Gypsum With HCL

Updated June 05, 2017

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.

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

  2. Add 500 millileters of water.

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

  5. Warning

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

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Things You'll Need

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

About the Author

J.D. Richards has worked as a writer and journalist since 2005. He has written for various publications, including the alt-weekly "Creative Loafing" in Florida as well as Manhattan's "New York Press" and "Blackbook Magazine." He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in journalism.

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