In order to understand how a system achieves equilibrium, we need to measure the concentration of reactants and products of a chemical reaction. To do this, IBDP Chemistry Grade 12 students used a common laboratory method known as Titration.
For this experiment, the following reversible chemical reaction was investigated:
Ethanol + Ethanoic Acid ⇌ Ethyl Ethanoate + Water
Through titration, it is possible to get the concentration of the reactants (ethanol, ethanoic acid) and products (ethyl ethanoate, water) by using an acid to catalyze the reaction. In the case of the experiment, a common acid, known as hydrochloric acid was used.
However, the reaction of ethanol and ethanoic acid, even with the aid of a catalyst was very slow. It took the students approximately a whole week to finish the experiment.