Percent Yield

Reaction Yields Continued: Percent Yield

The amount of product that may be produced by a reaction under specified conditions, as calculated per the stoichiometry of an appropriate balanced chemical equation, is called the theoretical yield of the reaction. In practice, the amount of product obtained is called the actual yield, and it is often less than the theoretical yield for a number of reasons.

Some reactions are inherently inefficient, being accompanied by side reactions that generate other products. Others are, by nature, incomplete (consider the partial reactions of weak acids and bases discussed earlier in this tutorial). Some products are difficult to collect without some loss, and so less than perfect recovery will reduce the actual yield. The extent to which a reaction’s theoretical yield is achieved is commonly expressed as its percent yield:

\(\text{percent yield} = \cfrac{\text{actual yield}}{\text{theoretical yield}} × 100\%\)

Actual and theoretical yields may be expressed as masses or molar amounts (or any other appropriate property; e.g., volume, if the product is a gas). As long as both yields are expressed using the same units, these units will cancel when percent yield is calculated.

Calculation of Percent Yield: Example

Upon reaction of 1.274 g of copper sulfate with excess zinc metal, 0.392 g copper metal was obtained according to the equation:

\(\mathrm{CuSO_4}(aq) + \mathrm{Zn}(s) \longrightarrow \mathrm{Cu}(s) + \mathrm{ZnSO_4}(aq)\)

What is the percent yield?


The provided information identifies copper sulfate as the limiting reactant, and so the theoretical yield is found by the approach illustrated in the previous module, as shown here:

\(\require{cancel}\mathrm{1.274 \; \cancel{g \; CuSO_4}} × \cfrac{\mathrm{1 \; \cancel{mol \; CuSO_4}}}{\mathrm{159.62 \; \cancel{g \; CuSO_4}}} × \cfrac{\mathrm{1 \; \cancel{mol \; Cu}}}{\mathrm{1 \; \cancel{mol \; CuSO_4}}} × \cfrac{\mathrm{63.55 \; g \; Cu}}{\mathrm{1 \; \cancel{mol \; Cu}}} = 0.5072\text{ g Cu}\)

Using this theoretical yield and the provided value for actual yield, the percent yield is calculated to be

\(\text{percent yield} = \left ( \cfrac{\text{actual yield}}{\text{theoretical yield}} \right ) × 100\)

\(\text{percent yield} = \left ( \cfrac{\text{0.392 g Cu}}{\text{0.5072 g Cu}} \right ) × 100\)

\(\text{percent yield} = 77.3\%\)

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