How to Calculate Percentage of Purity


A common misconception held by students is that a balanced chemical equation excludes the possibility of side reactions occurring that produce unwanted products. These byproducts are produced in what is known as secondary mechanisms, which are usually dependent on the environment of the reaction. While impurities caused via these mechanisms may be reduced, they are often not completely removable from a process. Due to this purification problem, it is often necessary to calculate the impurities present from a particular synthesis attempt.

Things You'll Need

  • Data of the mass of impurity present
  • Convert the quantity of impurity present from moles to grams. Impurities are often represented in moles rather than grams due to chemical equations being represented in moles. This step may not be necessary if the impurity has been weighed independently or has already been converted to grams upon collection.

  • Divide the mass of the impurity by the mass of the total mass of the synthesis. This is to say, add the mass of the final product, the impurity, and all other material that resulted from the chemical synthesis and divide the mass of the impurity by that quantity.

  • Multiply the resulting numerical value by 100. This turns the resulting quantity into a percentage of impurity. This percentage of impurity represents the amount of impurity with respect to the entire process.


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