Percentage Yields

Percentage Yields

Basic Concept

  • Percentage yield is a term used in chemistry to describe the amount of product collected compared to the maximum amount that could theoretically be produced.
  • It is a measure of the efficiency of a chemical reaction.
  • The formula to calculate percentage yield is: (actual yield / theoretical yield) × 100%.

Theoretical and Actual Yield

  • The theoretical yield is the maximum amount of product that could be form during a chemical reaction based on the stoichiometry of the reaction. It is calculated using balanced chemical equations.
  • The actual yield is the amount of product that is actually collected from the experiment. This is often less than the theoretical yield due to factors such as incomplete reactions, losses during transfer, or side reactions.

Factors Affecting Percentage Yield

  • Incomplete reactions: Not all reactants might react to produce the product, thereby reducing the actual yield.
  • Practical losses: During the experiment, some product might be lost during transfer between containers or not all of it might be collected, reducing the actual yield.
  • Side reactions: Sometimes, reactants might undergo different reactions to form unwanted products. This also reduces the actual yield.
  • Purity of reactants: If the reactants are not pure, they won’t produce the expected theoretical yield, hence the actual yield will be less.

Importance of Percentage Yield

  • The calculation of percentage yield is very important in industrial processes as it helps to determine the efficiency of the production process.
  • By calculating and improving percentage yields, cost efficiency can be increased, waste can be reduced, and environmental impact can be lessened.
  • In educational settings, it provides a useful tool for comparing theoretical expectations with experimental results and understanding the concept of chemical stoichiometry.


  • The manufacture of pharmaceutical drugs should ideally have a high percentage yield to ensure maximum product is produced for sale.
  • In a school laboratory, the synthesis of aspirin from salicylic acid might not give 100% yield due to practical losses during filtering and washing of the product.

Remember, the goal in any reaction is to aim for the highest percentage yield possible. This concept plays a crucial role in creating cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions in the field of chemistry.