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Chemistry Qualitative Salt Analysis Cheatsheet

By on Sep 14, 2007 in On A Whim | 86 comments

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Download the Chemistry Qualitative Salt Analysis Cheatsheet

The Short Story:
Here’s a cheatsheet for qualitative salt analysis with all the common ions and tests included. I left out the ones which are generally not done at school, but in case you feel that I should include something, change any content, etc your suggestions are welcome.

The Long Story:
It’s a known fact that I don’t attend far too many classes at school; and I’m constantly in need of notes and such stuff from others. Having done this for quite a few years, I’ve got into a habit of creating ‘cheatsheets’ for referring to before exams, because I hardly remember anything any day. Take for example the chemistry practicals, almost all of which I didn’t attend last year (and only one of organic this year).

Thus, for today’s chemistry practical (which went sorta fine except I’m not sure of my cation), I made a reference sheet for qualitative salt analysis. I wouldn’t have done it, but the Web doesn’t seem to have any good stuff on this. The upshot was that I was working till 1.42 am typing out stuff that I dozed off at the computer table itself. I’d though it was a nice idea to do it, it’d help me remember the things too, but *argh*, those bloody subscript and superscript almost killed me.

This stuff is really useful for CBSE class 11 and 12 students, for the qualitative salt analysis practicals; and I guess for other folks interested in chemistry too. Feedback and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Update 1: I made a cellphone version of the salt analysis cheatsheet too.
Update 2: The cheatsheet has been updated. It’s now been condensed to a four-page affair, and some useless footnotes have been removed. A few tips have been added towards the end. In case you’re (still) interested in the old one, download version 1 of salt analysis cheatsheet.

Update 3: Kartik Mankad has informed me of some possible discrepancies in the cheatsheet. I’ll repeat them from everyone’s benefit here – but I haven’t checked this out in a lab. There might be a few things I skipped because our teachers told us not to bother with them. Kartik’s given some nice tips though. Thanks!

  1. Sulphite, nitrite, and sulphide are not in CBSE course.
  2. As mentioned right under the heading of ‘cations’ it says, “When phosphate is detected cations of group 3 and later are absent”. This rule is violated for many salts, for example nickel phosphate.
  3. The procedure for ring test is mentioned wrong. Our teacher specifically said NOT to add HNO3 and use only H2So4.
  4. Under flame test you may also add Pb salts, which give a bluish white flame.
  5. Deliquescence (the ability to absorb moisture) is a great tool in determining the salt/group. Example, Mg salts are HIGHLY deliquescent. MgCl2 makes the filter paper (on which it is kept) wet in minutes.


  1. Ramit Singal

    September 15, 2007

    Post a Reply

    Awesome. Thanks. No suggestions though, since this probably the first time in 6 months I am seeing the analysis and tests again ;)

    Nice artemis style fonts, by the way :P

    With nitrate however, there may be a case with different cation combinations that the test may show no colour at all. But that doesn’t mean it’s not nitrate, so one has to move on with the regular test just to confirm it.

    I say this because we have a salt of this type in our lab. I believe it is Ammonium Nitrate …

    • Parvesh

      November 28, 2012

      Post a Reply

      Ammonium Nitrate is highly explosive…it is NEVER…i said NEVER kept in school labs!!!

  2. Boris

    September 15, 2007

    Post a Reply

    you had to use “MAsOn” didnt you!!!

    btw thanks this will come in handy
    as me and rach had made the organic compound cheatsheet
    only didnt get time to make this one.

  3. GQ

    September 16, 2007

    Post a Reply

    @Ramit: The paper pellet test to see if fumes intensify is very good for detecting nitrates as far as I know…and I don’t think out lab has ammonium nitrate.

    @Boris: I was also thinking of making a organic chemistry cheatsheet, when I get some free time.

  4. Not Telling

    February 5, 2008

    Post a Reply

    Very very nice work.

    I have my Chemistry practicals on 7th Feb. Could you make a small 1 page PDF with this, which I can print and put to suitable use :P ?

  5. GQ

    February 5, 2008

    Post a Reply

    @NT: There’s *quite* a bit of text actually in that, isn’t there? I did make a one sheet version, to be printed on both sides, but frankly, it wasn’t very usable because of the small font size. Here’s what I can advise you – use the cellphone version of the cheatsheet. It’s quite handy, and loads easily. And in case you don’t want to take the ‘added risk’ of carrying a cellphone, download that file anyway, and open it using any respectable archiver. Extract the file ‘book.txt’, and then print it with the smallest font size that you can humanely bear (and I’m sure it still won’t be readable). Methinks you can go ahead and print this version, AND keep it practicals. Many people in our school have done so. Who’ll bother to check pockets?

  6. nikita

    February 17, 2008

    Post a Reply

    you just made my life a lot easier.. i have my 11th grade chem prac. tomorrow.

  7. GQ

    February 17, 2008

    Post a Reply

    @Nikita: Thanks. Do check out the new version, will be useful in 12th too.

  8. Catcatmu

    September 21, 2008

    Post a Reply

    Thanks A MILLION!…

    This is exactly what I was looking for!

    By the way, Nice Design!

  9. Sateendra

    December 9, 2008

    Post a Reply

    Also worth noting is that if none of the indicatory tests for anions come up it can either be Nitrate or Acetate.

    If its Acetate, then most labs only have Lead Acetate.

  10. ManikSaraf

    January 12, 2009

    Post a Reply

    thanks a bunch dude
    this is sooo fucking useful to me man
    hey….i have a suggestion….
    u can make a version of this cheatsheet fer dummies explainin every effing bit of it
    thisll help if we haven attended any practical class and have no friggin clue abt it ryte?
    cuz i really suck in chem and the teachers in
    my school(indianhighschool dubai)arent hot stuff
    so they dont really explain stuff properly
    and i have my prac xam tommoro and i dunno what im gonna do abt it

    • Ankur

      January 12, 2009

      Post a Reply

      @Manik: Dude, I’ve broken it down to everything step-by-step. What more can I give? :) But anyway, I do hope you find this useful.

    • aashi

      November 1, 2011

      Post a Reply

      chem z nt dat much difficult. u jst need 2 switch off ur cell n concentrate
      by d way cheatsheet was useful

  11. nidhi

    January 19, 2009

    Post a Reply

    ohh mann.. thanx a ton.. hve my chem board prartical on 27th jan… was hvin heart attacks till nw..neway thanx a ton..n keep workin hard n harder…

  12. Gaurav

    January 21, 2009

    Post a Reply

    Nice one! Would like to add that Baso4 is not availbale in labs too.

  13. Class XII Student

    February 9, 2009

    Post a Reply

    thanx a ton.. precisely what i was lukin for..
    though one thig.. it wud av bin nice if u wud av had smthing for the equations as well..

    anyways thanx yet again..!!

      • Class XII Student

        February 9, 2009

        i noe.. but the most important.. the school walahs do want them..
        but anyways your work is appreciable..n extremely useful.. :)

      • Suyash Parik

        September 23, 2012

        I agree dude….equations are way too many! And that’s complete crap like thing to me! No matter how hard you try…keep on forgrttin’em!

        And thanks a million times for the cheat sheet man….really very very helpful! Great work buddy!

        And the fonts are sexy! :P

  14. Abhimanyu

    February 11, 2009

    Post a Reply

    How do you come up with this stuff. Good work man. May penguin bless you.

    • Ankur

      February 12, 2009

      Post a Reply

      I made this for myself, found it extremely useful, and being the open-source loving guy that I am, decided to upload it online.

  15. Aarthi

    February 23, 2009

    Post a Reply

    Thanks a lot Ankur!It is really of great help to me and my friends! May god bless u! :)

  16. Manu

    February 25, 2009

    Post a Reply

    Nice but is not sufficient
    this I can tell from my todays experience as today was my practical…….

    • Ankur

      February 25, 2009

      Post a Reply

      This isn’t intended as a replacement for your lab manual; it’s for revising through stuff quickly.

  17. Deepali

    September 14, 2009

    Post a Reply

    nice but unfortunately propr chem. eqs are reqd 4 d practicl too…

  18. dhruv arora

    January 25, 2010

    Post a Reply

    bhagwan aapko lambi umar de, now i can pass in my chem practicals. thnx a ton

  19. Jacqueline

    June 9, 2010

    Post a Reply

    Dear Ankur,


    I always support the freshers….young generation, opposing elders in my category.

    I see my daughter in u since she is same like u; ofcourse I was the one who asked her to be with me from KG most of the time instead of behaving like the usual parent in everything. She will appear for Boards this year. I will ask her to visit your site & be in touch.
    She is forced to be in school today since computer practical exam – semester.

    Where r u now for higher studies? We r in Kuwait but the chemistry teacher is lousy not teaching anything..just reads the text book; all the children r going for tuitions to learn something.

    God is surely blessing u for having these healthy, nice ideas which are so helpful for your generation.

    May God shower His blessings upon u,guide u easily in your further studies & career.


  20. sushruti

    December 29, 2010

    Post a Reply

    this is not at all matching with what i had done it in school…….

  21. Marlyn

    January 13, 2011

    Post a Reply

    u have done an awesome job!!!
    its very organised….thnx a lot…… :)

  22. joy

    January 23, 2011

    Post a Reply

    DUDE YOU ARE THE MAN! i have my chem pracs tomorrow and i just started thanks alot :) life saver

  23. Anamika

    January 26, 2011

    Post a Reply

    dude you rock………..
    I have some notes from my school but your idea is great
    i having my board practicals on 29th fav so wish me luck
    thanks alot…………….

  24. Aditi Sharma

    February 20, 2011

    Post a Reply

    :D :D OH. My. GOD!! this is THE best thing I’ve found online! :D
    my 11th grade chemistry practicals are like 3 days away and i was freaking out cause i could’nt remember all the stupid reagents for cations! :D
    this is sooooo goonna help me Loads! :D
    thanks so much :)
    You are practically an ANGEL! :D

  25. Kamrul

    June 30, 2011

    Post a Reply

    …sorry brother….i’m using ur sheet to help my students but didn’t told them about U…..

  26. Radhika

    October 12, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Ankur ur so awsm!
    its so cool,,,
    skul m toh kbhi smjh hi ni aya kuch b…ur cheatsheets rock!,,
    n vo mgcl2 ka clue is very very awsm…abhi 1st term k practical m mera ye hi aya tha n i used ur trivk.!
    thnx a tonnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!

  27. aisha

    December 16, 2011

    Post a Reply

    hey this salt analysis cheat sheet is my school’s procedure sheet…

  28. karan

    December 18, 2011

    Post a Reply

    hey thnx man for this cheat sheet….was just surfing the net for some useful material to pass the practicals and found this….can now breath a sigh of relief…..can you also put some stuff for physics demonstration experiments?

  29. Jyoti

    January 18, 2012

    Post a Reply

    Thank you for this, Ankur! This is really useful, and so concise. I hope my son passes his Chem practicals. If so, a large part of the credit will be to you.

  30. Neethi

    January 23, 2012

    Post a Reply

    The things u have posted i already know it what i want to know is that some salts dissolve in both dil. and conc. h2so4 den hw to distinguish bt. dat??and some salts do not dissolve in water at all what to do for that??and it has mostly happened with me that a salt shows reaction for 2 cations and 2 anions any suggestion regarding all these……..!!!

  31. sakshi

    February 13, 2012

    Post a Reply

    thnx sooooo much ankur.. im from DPS noida.. the salt analysis is pretty much d same as ours.. i hvnt attended any practical classes so i had absolutely no clue hw to go about it.. thank you.. :)

  32. Shikhar

    February 23, 2012

    Post a Reply

    Thank you for sharing. You’ve left out the As3+ radical.
    It is a group II radical (lead group) and gives yellow precipitate on passing H2S. Dissolved in conc. HNO3. Gives yellow ppt. with Ammonium molybdate and white with magnesia mixture.

  33. Parvathy

    February 28, 2012

    Post a Reply

    thankzzz… for helping…. i was much worried about my chemistry practicalz and this helped me for passing my examzz… THANKZ A LOT….!!!!!!!!! great work man…….

  34. Angelin

    March 6, 2012

    Post a Reply

    HYE guys this is not fair………. I have never cheated in exams…
    instead of cheating you al can study…!!!!!!

  35. Emkay

    March 24, 2012

    Post a Reply

    thanks scorsam….
    your sheet gives details about the steps that r mentioned in Sheet on this site.

    Great work.
    ps your blog is more like an article splog !!

  36. shivam

    February 1, 2013

    Post a Reply

    Thanx dude.
    because of this cheatsheet, i was able to rock my preboards. never have i ever gotten more than 18 out of 30 in practicals, but because of u, i scored full in the practical and writing part. i guess i should study for viva also to increase the 28 to 30 ;)

    i would say that i love u, but that sound gayish, so i’ll go with- i am a fan of urs and will remember u till the day i lose my memory

  37. Varidhi

    February 9, 2013

    Post a Reply

    Thanks a lot Ankur! You’re a life saver! Literally. THIS CHEATSHEET MADE MY LIFE 100000000 TIMES EASIER! :’D
    P.S: Haters, move on, you’re not needed.

  38. Priyamvada

    February 12, 2013

    Post a Reply

    ^ Hahaha varidhi :p
    I guess this web site has been saving people’s lives in practicals for a long time now. So grateful that some one from our school took so much pains. Thank you :)

  39. Tanya

    February 9, 2015

    Post a Reply

    I’m not even using this as a cheat sheet. I’m using it to study and dude, is it so incredibly helpful than all that craziness in the practical book.

  40. sandy

    December 10, 2015

    Post a Reply

    thankkyou bros!!!
    u made my life easy
    keep it up it helped me a lot!!


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