Mummification Report Essay


Mummification is an ancient Egyptian method which is a natural or deliberate process intended to dehydrate the body to preserve it. They done this because they believed that if a body was left to rot then it would destroy their soul, so they believed that the body needed to be intact to serve as host for the soul. So they preserved bodies so they could use them in the afterlife, where the Egyptians believed they would make a journey to another life. To start to mummify a body, the first step is to push a sharp rod up the nose and into the brain to break it into small enough pieces to be removed out through the nose. Next a hole is made in the body to remove all the organs apart from the heart and then they stored these organs in jars and filled the hole back up with linen and spices. After this, the body would then be left to dry by using a salt (natron) mixture called a mummion which absorbed all the moisture from the body to dry it out, and then it was wrapped up in linen bandages. Mummion is an inorganic solid that is obtained from dried up lake beds and it used to mummify the dead bodies. I am going to explain what Ions are including Cations and Anions because it is the background information needed to carry out this investigation.

An ion is an atom or molecule which the total number of electrons isn’t equal to the total number of protons giving the atom a positive or negative electrical charge. When an atom is attracted to another atom because it has an unequal number of electrons and protons, the atom is called an Ion. If the atom has more electrons than protons this means that it’s a negatively charged ion or Anion. Different anions include carbonate, fluoride, nitrate and oxide. Cations are particles with a positive charge and are formed when one atom loses electrons whereas anions have particles with a negative charge and are formed when an atom gains electrons. The purpose of these experiments I am going to carry out is to determine the cations and anions in the salt known as the ‘mummion’. I will investigate this by doing different types of tests. Hypothesis: It can be predicted that the salt will contain both Cations and Anions.

Identifying Halide Ions
Identifying Anions
Identifying Cations
Type of test
Halide Test
Carbonate Test
Flame Test
Rock Salt
Add about 2ml of solution ‘A’ to a test tube
Add an equal volume of dilute HNO3
Add a few drops of silver nitrate to the tube
Pour half of the contents of the tube into a clean beaker
To the first tube, add dilute ammonia until there is no further change – do this in a fume cupboard Repeat with aqueous solutions ‘B and C’.

In a test tube place a sample of carbonate in
Close the top of the test tube with a rubber stopper with a glass pipe sticking out of the middle of it Put the other end of the glass pipe in lime water
Watch as CO2 gas bubbles through the lime water
You can do the same thing by adding Hydrochloric acid and send the gas into the lime water Dip a wooden splint into some distilled water
Dip the wet wooden splint into one of the metal solutions
Hold it in the edge of the flame of the Bunsen burner
Record the colour what I see
Repeat this method for each of the metal solutions

Add about 5 grams of mummion to about 100cm3 of distilled water Use a Pestle and Motar to break the pieces to smaller ones
Stir until left with a red solution
Filter the solution through filter paper into a conical flask Put the solution left in the conical flask into a basin
Heat it up until all the water has evaporated
Silver Nitrate (AgNo3), Nitrate acid (HNO3) Dilute and concentrate NH3, Potassium Chloride (kCl), Potassium Bromide (kBr), Potassium iodide (kI), test tubes, pipettes, test tube rack, beakers.

Lime Water, Hydrochloric acid (HCl), NaCo3, lab coat, safety glasses, glass beaker, test tube, rubber stopper with glass pipe. Sodium (NaCl), Calcium Carbonate (CaCo3), Copper (CuCl2), Bunsen burner, Lab coat and safety glasses, heat proof mat, hydrochloric acid and samples of metal ions.

Pestle and Motar, distilled water, filter paper, glass beaker, filter, Bunsen burner, heat proof mat, lad coat, safety goggles, tripod, gauze, rock salt. Diagram

Halide Ion
Nitrate acid and Silver Nitrate (HNO3) and (AgNO3)
Action of the dilute NH(3) on the product
Action of the concentrated NH(3) on the product
White precipitate
White precipitate dissolves
White precipitate dissolves
Cream precipitate
No reaction
Cream precipitate dissolves
Yellow precipitate

Lime waters clear colour becomes blurry/cloudy due to the formation of insoluble CaCo3. Vigorous bubbling is observed if CO3 ion is present because this indicates that a gas is evolved. When bubbling the gas into the limewater a white precipitate is observed.

Colour of Flame

The original mixture was a cloudy brown colour and the water that dripped through the filter funnel contained sodium chloride which is a soluble compound. Pieces of rock fragments and insoluble materials remained on the filter paper because none of it was soluble in water and also the particles were too large to fit through the tiny holes of the filter paper. When heating the dish I could gradually see white salt around the edge of the dish, and when eventually all the water evaporated there were white salt crystals in the dish. Pure sodium chloride was left behind in the evaporating dish.

Risk Assessments

Dangerous with
Harmful by inhalation and by contact with the skin. Avoid contact with the eyes. The solid has a corrosive action on the skin causing burns if left for some time. Solutions greater than or equal to 1M should be labelled
‘Harmful’. Harmful

Zinc (with all the above a violent reaction occurs)
Ammonia solution (an explosive solid is formed)

Wear eye protection. Use a fume cupboard. Add to 250ml of 1M sodium thiosulphate solution. When solution is colourless, add contents to a bucket of water and pour down the sink. As a corrosive solid (CS).

Silver Nitrate
Causes burns. Solutions equal to or stronger than 0.5M are corrosive. Solutions to or stronger than 0.2M but less than 0.5M are Irritant. Solutions are very dangerous to the eyes and blacken the skin. If ingested, can cause internal damage due to absorption in the blood followed by deposition of silver in various tissues. Corrosive

Ammonia (explosive compounds are formed under certain conditions) Ethanol (explosive silver fulminates may be formed)
Magnesium (mixture explodes in presence of a drop of water)
It is usual to keep a silver residues bottle but do not dispose of Rollens Reagent in this way. Only very small amounts of silver salts should be washed down the sink and then only with plenty of water. As a toxic chemical (T).

Ammonia Solution
Causes burns. Solutions of strength greater than or equal to 2.6M should be labelled corrosive. Solutions of strength greater than or equal to 3M but less than 6M should be labelled irritant. If swallowed, causes severe internal damage. The vapour (ammonia gas) is toxic and extremely irritating to the eyes. Corrosive

Danger to the environment. Solutions equal to or stronger than 14M are very toxic to the aquatic environment.

Iodine (with all of the above, under some conditions explosive products are formed) Mercury (explosive solid formed on prolonged contact)
Oxygen (explosion can occur)
Silver Salts (explosive compounds formed under certain conditions.) Pressure builds up in certain containers of concentrated solution or in hot days. In hot weather, open bottles cautiously, particularly new ones, using a safety screen and goggles.

Dilute it with an extensive amount of water, once finished pour it down the sink rather than onto soil. When the container is empty, rinse it well before disposing it and be cautious of splashes. The vapour pressure of aqua ammonia is about equal to the atmospheric pressure so it must be stored in closed containers. The storage area should be dry and cool.

Ammonia vapour will burn when mixed in air at concentrations between 15% to 28%. Copper Salts
Toxic if swallowed. Solutions equal to and greater than 1.4M or more should be labelled ‘Toxic’. Solutions equal to and greater than 0.15 M but less than 1.4M should be labelled ‘Harmful’. It may also be irritating to the eyes and skin. Toxic

Dissolve salt in 10 litres of water and wash down the sink, diluting further. Copper chloride with toxics.

By looking at the results for the Halide test and analysing them I can see that ‘X’ is Chloride because it had the same results as it. By looking at the results for the flame test I found out what Cations were present. When putting each substance in the Bunsen burner flame I got a different colour flame for each metal and when putting ‘X’ metal in the flame I got the same
colour flame as I did when I put the Sodium one in which shows me that ‘X’ is sodium. When carrying out the purification experiment with the rock salt I thought that this experiment went very well but if I could redo it again I would make a change because the Mummion that I had filtered was not completely clear, so if I carried out this experiment again I would filter it a couple of times to ensure it was clear before putting it into the evaporating basin. And also when carrying out the purification test, I thought I done this well because to find out the exact amount of rock salt obtained I firstly weighed the evaporating dish and then once all the filtrate had been evaporated I weighed the dish again which had the rock salt in. The amount of rock salt was simply the weight of the dish take away the weight of the dish when it was empty. After carrying out all these experiments, they show me that the hypothesis I made earlier was correct because both Cations and Anions were present. If I could carry out other tests I would use the chromatography method because this would be more precise and accurate. Overall, I found out that the salt used was composed of sodium carbonate ions and sodium bicarbonate with traces of sodium chloride and sodium sulphate.