Precipitation is the development of a hard in a solution during a chemical reaction. When the chemical reaction wake up the solid formed is referred to as the precipitate. This can happen when one insoluble substance, the precipitate, is developed in the solution as result of a reaction or once the solution has been supersaturated by a compound. The formation of a precipitate is a sign of a chemistry change. In most situations, the solid develops ("falls") out of the solute phase, and also sinks to the bottom of the solution (though it will float if the is less thick than the solvent, or type a suspension).

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Precipitation reactions have the right to be offered for make pigments, removing salt from water in water treatment, and also for qualitative chemistry analysis.

This impact is beneficial in many industrial and also scientific applications whereby a chemical reaction may create a hard that can be collected from the systems by various approaches (e.g. Filtration, decanting, centrifuging). Precipitation indigenous a solid solution is also a useful method to strengthen alloys; this process is known as solid systems strengthening.


An important stage of the precipitation procedure is the onset of nucleation. The production of a hypothetical solid particle contains the formation of an interface, which requires some energy based on the family member surface energy of the solid and also the solution. If this energy is no available, and also no an ideal nucleation surface is available, supersaturation occurs.

depiction using chemistry equations

An instance of a precipitation reaction: Aqueous silver nitrate (AgNO3) is added to a equipment containing potassium chloride (KCl) and the precipitation the a white solid, silver chloride is observed. (Zumdahl, 2005)

AgNO3(aq) + KCl(aq) → AgCl(s) + KNO3(aq)

The silver- chloride(AgCl) has developed a solid, which is observed together a precipitate.

This reaction can be written emphasizing the dissociated ion in a an unified solution

Ag+(aq) + NO3-(aq) + K+(aq) + Cl-(aq) → AgCl(solid) + K+(aq) + NO3-(aq)

A final method to represent a precipitate reaction is recognized as a net ionic reaction. In this case, any kind of spectator ions (those which carry out not add to the reaction) room left the end of the formula completely. This simplifies the over equations come the following:

Ag+(aq) + Cl-(aq) → AgCl(s)

Cation sensitivity

Precipitate formation is useful in the detection of the form of cation in salt. To do this, one alkali an initial reacts through the unknown salt to develop a precipitate which is the hydroxide of the unknown salt.

To identify the cation, the shade of the precipitate and its solubility in excess room noted.

Similar procedures are frequently used to separate chemically similar elements, such as the rare planet metals.


Digestion, or precipitate ageing, happens once a freshly-formed precipitate is left, usually at a greater temperature, in the solution from which that is precipitated. It results in cleaner and bigger particles.<1> The physico-chemical process underlying cradle is called Ostwald ripening.


Coprecipitation is the carrying down through a precipitate that substances usually soluble under the problems employed. It is an important issue in chemistry analysis, wherein it is often undesirable, but in some instances it can be exploited. In gravimetric analysis, that is a problem because undesired impurities frequently coprecipitate with the analyte, bring about excess mass. Top top the various other hand, in the analysis of map elements, as is frequently the instance in radiochemistry, coprecipitation is regularly the only way of separating one element.


Zumdahl, Steven S. Chemistry Principles. Fourth ed. Brand-new York: house turn Mifflin Company, 2005.Mark Smith ethics of scientific research 1993

further reading

Banert, T., Brenner, G., Peuker, U. A. (2006), operation parameters that a consistent sono-chemical precipitation reactor, Proc. 5. WCPT, Orlando Fl., 23.-27. April 2006.

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