CHEMISTRY NOW: The Chemistry of Oil Spills (Grades 9-12) Print

Objective:

Students will conduct an experiment to determine the contributing factors to the solubility of a system.  Students will be able to explain the role of polarity in the solubility of a system.


Introduction Notes:

CHEMISTRY NOW: The Chemistry of Oil Spills

 

 

 

Title:

 

 

The Chemistry of Oil Spills

 

Subject/Topic:

 

 

Science

 

Grades:

 

 

9–12

 

Standards

Alignment:

 

 

Science as Inquiry 9–12

 

Time Allowance:

 

 

1 hour

 

 

 

Overview and Purpose / Objective(s)

(information, concepts to be learned):

1.      Students will conduct an experiment to determine the contributing factors to the solubility of a system.

2.      Students will be able to explain the role of polarity in the solubility of a system.

 

 

VOCABULARY:

 

compound—a chemical species containing two or more chemical elements.

 

density—a unit describing the mass per unit volume of a substance.

 

immiscible—two compounds that are unable to form a solution with each other.

 

inorganic molecule—a compound whose molecules do not contain carbon.

 

miscible—two compounds with the ability to form a solution with each other.

 

miscibility—the property of two compounds to form a heterogeneous solution with each other.

 

organic molecule—a compound whose molecules contain carbon.

 

solubility—the ability of one chemical species to dissolve in another.

 

Materials (per group of five):

- several 500 ml beakers

- distilled water

- table sugar

- triple beam balance

- a pipette

- food coloring

- vegetable oil

- acetone

- citric acid

- dish soap

 

 

ACTIVITY / ENGAGEMENT

(reinforcing lesson, making real-world connection)

 

For this lesson, students should have a basic understanding of solubility and different types of chemical bonding. Students should be able to identify the polarity of a molecule. This lesson should be tailored to the suggestions of your class.

 

Class Starter:

 

Engage students on what they know about oil spills.

 

    Where does a majority of the oil reside in an oil spill?

    How do you think that the dispersant you will see in the video works?

    What effect does the dispersant have on the system?

    What factors do you think are responsible for this phenomenon?

 

PRESENTATION OF NEW MATERIAL

 

Show the NBC video. The dispersant is used to emulsify the oil in the water. Why is the dispersant needed to accomplish this, and what exactly does the dispersant do to accomplish this task?

 

In the following experiments, you will test your students’ suggestions about the factors of solubility. Write the factors described by your students on the board. Perform a series of experiments that will test each of these factors.

 

 

Procedure:

For density:

 

1. Fill a 500ml beaker halfway with distilled water.

 

2. Add 15 g of sugar and stir until dissolved. It is OK if some sugar remains undissolved after vigorous stirring. This signifies that the solution is saturated, or cannot hold any more sugar in solution.

 

3. Add a drop of food coloring to the solution.

 

4. Fill another 500 ml beaker halfway with distilled water, but dissolve only 3 g of sugar in it.

 

5. Slowly pipette the contents from the 3 g sugar water solution into the 15 g sugar water solution.

Have the two solutions mixed, or do they remain separate?

If the solutions remain separate, what is their order?

Do they maintain this order over time?

Are they in the same positions after 5 minutes? 10 minutes? 20 minutes?

 

For Inorganic vs. Organic and Polar vs. Nonpolar:

 

1. Fill a 400ml beaker halfway with distilled water, and add 100ml of vegetable oil.

 

Is water an organic or an inorganic molecule?

Is water polar or nonpolar?

Is vegetable oil an organic or an inorganic molecule?

Is vegetable oil polar or nonpolar?

Did the oil dissolve in the water?

 

2.  Fill a 500 ml beaker halfway with acetone and add 100 ml of vegetable oil.

 

      Is acetone an organic or an inorganic molecule?

 

Is acetone polar or nonpolar?

 

Did the oil dissolve in the acetone?

 

 

3.  Fill a 500 ml beaker halfway with acetone and add 100 ml water.

 

Did the water dissolve in the acetone?

 

What kind of solvent is needed to dissolve a polar compound?

 

4.  Fill a 500 ml beaker halfway with water. Add 5 g of citric acid.

 

Is citric acid an organic or an inorganic molecule?

 

Is citric acid polar or nonpolar?

 

Did the citric acid dissolve in water?

 

What can we conclude about the role of organic molecules in making

substances more soluble in water?

 

5. Fill one 500 ml beaker halfway with water, and another 500 ml beaker halfway with oil. Add 100 ml of soap to each beaker.

 

 

Concluding Discussion/Activities:

 

Did the soap dissolve in water? In oil?

What substances will be acting as the dispersant?

What can we then conclude about the polarity of soap (and the polarity of the dispersant)? What does this mean for the relationship between the dispersant and the oil? [The soap lowers the surface tension between the water and the oil, and allows the two to be evenly dispersed in one another.] 

 


 

Student Worksheet for the Chemistry of Oil Spills

 

 

Experiment Title: _________________Date: _____Name: ___________________

 

Student Hypothesis: __________________________________________________

 

 

Materials:

 

- several 500 ml beakers

- distilled water

- table sugar

- triple beam balance

- a pipette

- food coloring

- vegetable oil

- acetone

- citric acid

- dish soap

 

Safety Precautions:

 

________________________________________________________________

 

________________________________________________________________

 

Procedure:

 

Wear Safety Goggles for all lab work.

1. ___________________________________________________________

2. ___________________________________________________________

3. ___________________________________________________________

4. ___________________________________________________________

5. ___________________________________________________________

6. ___________________________________________________________

7. ___________________________________________________________

8. ___________________________________________________________

9. ___________________________________________________________

10. ___________________________________________________________

 

Data and Observations:

 

 

 

 

 

Close NBC Learn

FILTERING

If you are trying to view the videos from inside a school or university, your IT admin may need to enable streaming on your network. Please see the Internet Filtering section of our Technical Requirements page.

DVDs AND OTHER COPIES

Videos on this page are not available on DVD at this time due to licensing restrictions on the footage.

DOWNLOADING VIDEOS

Subscribers to NBC Learn may download videos and play them back without an internet connection. Please click here to find out more about subscribing or to sign up for a FREE trial (download not included in free trial).

Still have questions?
Click here to send us an email.

Close NBC Learn

INTERNATIONAL VISITORS

The Science of the Olympic Winter Games videos are only available to visitors inside the United States due to licensing restrictions on the Olympics footage used in the videos.

FILTERING

If you are trying to view the videos from inside a school or university, your IT admin may need to enable streaming on your network. Please see the Internet Filtering section of our Technical Requirements page.

DVDs AND OTHER COPIES

The Science of the Olympic Winter Games is not available on DVD at this time due to licensing restrictions on on Olympic footage.

DOWNLOADING VIDEOS

Subscribers to NBC Learn may download videos and play them back without an internet connection. Please click here to find out more about subscribing or to sign up for a FREE trial (download not included in free trial).

Still have questions?
Click here to send us an email.

Close NBC Learn

Choose your product

NBC Learn K-12 product site
NBC Learn Higher Ed product site

For NBC Learn in Blackboard™ please log in to your institution's Blackboard™ web site and click "Browse NBC Learn"

Close NBC Learn

If you have received a new user registration code from your institution, click your product below and use the "Register now" link to sign up for a personal account.

NBC Learn K-12 product site
NBC Learn Higher Ed product site

For further assistance, please contact our NBC Learn Support Team and we'll be happy to assist you.

Start Your Free
day
Day Trial!