Sciencemadness Discussion Board
Not logged in [Login - Register]
Go To Bottom

Printable Version  
Author: Subject: Looking for ideas for a science project
urea1990
Harmless
*




Posts: 3
Registered: 20-3-2017
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 20-3-2017 at 13:51
Looking for ideas for a science project


My school has set up a science prize (for an A3 poster, colour, 'giving an explanation of a principle, concept or application of chemistry.') I was thinking of doing something on methamphetamines, but I decided it didn't fit the brief. Can anyone suggest any ideas that would be interesting to research/unconventional and would fit the brief?

Edit: This is the winning poster from a few years back. http://imgur.com/gallery/BTOh8

[Edited on 20-3-2017 by urea1990]
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Melgar
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 817
Registered: 23-2-2010
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 20-3-2017 at 14:27


Iodine, the only naturally-occurring catalytic antioxidant. It became essential after the Oxygen Catastrophe, which killed most of the (single-celled) life on Earth at the time. Iodine has 10,000 times the concentration of seawater in algae and seaweed, because it is so essential for mitigating oxidative stress. However, there is very little iodine on land, so plants had to evolve their own antioxidants, like vitamin C and vitamin E. And animals like us had to evolve an organ that's initial purpose was conserving iodine, but now regulates metabolism. (That'd be the thyroid.) This makes sense, seeing as aerobic metabolism would have initially been very risky unless iodine was present, due to the oxidatative stress it causes. Even now, iodine is the heaviest element on the periodic table that's essential for human life, and there's research indicating that the FDA required daily intake (150 micrograms) is far below the optimal level. Japanese, for instance, get about 100 times this amount due to their consumption of seaweed, and they have some of the longest lifespans in the world.

Add that you can't buy iodine yourself, because it can be used to make methamphetamine via a reaction that nobody uses anymore. Also, that both this and phosphorus are two of the most useful elements in chemistry, but are both illegal to buy in their elemental forms. And finally, add that the only change that this law caused, is that now the drug is being made Walter-White style, by Mexican cartels. It can be made for about ten cents a gram, and sold (by cartels, in bulk) for ten dollars, then resold for maybe $50 by dealers.

For your reaction, you can make iodine from potassium iodide, by dissolving it in water, then combining it either with any acid and peroxide, or just adding bleach drop by drop until the solution gets clear (edit: I forgot to mention that doing either of these will cause the iodine to precipitate as a dark-colored mass at the bottom of the solution. However, you have to be careful about how much bleach or peroxide you add, because too much will over-oxidize the iodine to iodate, which is water-soluble, unlike elemental iodine). You can buy all the potassium iodide you want on eBay, and doing this as a reaction just shows how pointless the federal law is.

The principle that you could do it on would be "oxidation", and you can show how easily iodine changes oxidation states, and why this makes it important to life. Then use iodine as your example, the way the poster you linked to used thalidomide. Also, reference the fact that oxidation killed virtually all life on Earth at one point, and the planet got so cold that it froze solid for eons, until CO2 from volcanic activity brought about global warming again. I mean, if you thought the thalidomide event was important and catastrophic, well, the Oxygen Catastrophe was important and catastrophic by orders of magnitude more. :P

Incidentally, I could use some more help grinding this axe.

edit2: A3. I guess that means you're in the UK, eh? In which case a lot of this stuff about the federal government obviously doesn't apply to you. You could still reference the US laws though, and point out how dumb we obviously are. :(

[Edited on 3/20/17 by Melgar]
View user's profile View All Posts By User
A Halogenated Substance
Hazard to Self
**




Posts: 67
Registered: 7-2-2017
Location: United States
Member Is Offline

Mood: Oxidizing due to extended exposure to oxygen

[*] posted on 20-3-2017 at 14:29


First, what grade level is this for?

As for ideas, my recommendations are:

1) Recystallization - an extremely useful technique used by chemists and the industry for the purification of chemicals.

https://youtu.be/T2Z8tFXYpI8

2) Fischer Esterification - Dehydration between an alcohol and a carboxylic acid to create an ester. Esters are chemicals that are frequently synthesized by plants and are in part responsible for their smells and tastes. This process is also used to create artificial flavor and and smells as well.

https://youtu.be/vvrfHS4DRoM

3) Titration - An analytical technique that bases itself around using a known quantity of one chemical to determine the quantity of another chemical.




Current Active works in Progress:
-Convert i-propanol to i-chloropropane using HCl and ZnCl2
-Determine properties and solubility of a glycerol and citric acid polymer
-Attempt a conversion of chloroform to dichloromethane
-Attempt a conversion of acetic acid to acetamide
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
j_sum1
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 2953
Registered: 4-10-2014
Location: Oz
Member Is Offline

Mood: inert even with vigorous stirring.

[*] posted on 20-3-2017 at 14:50


Cheat.
http://www.compoundchem.com/archives/
https://jameskennedymonash.wordpress.com/

Nah. Don't cheat. But if you can't find some inspiration there then something is wrong.

[edit] added link!

[Edited on 20-3-2017 by j_sum1]
View user's profile View All Posts By User
JJay
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 1883
Registered: 15-10-2015
Location: experimenting
Member Is Online

Mood: experimental

[*] posted on 20-3-2017 at 15:43


You could check to see how fast crushed eggshells (prepared according to a well-documented procedure involving screening for a particular particle size) dissolve in different soft drinks. You could also check to see how fast animal teeth dissolve in different soft drinks, but this could require a lot of trials to obtain repeatable results, considered important to scientists.





Check out my new YouTube channel: Extreme Red Cabbage
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Booze
Hazard to Others
***




Posts: 116
Registered: 26-2-2017
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 20-3-2017 at 16:54


Maybe you could demonstrate the synthesis of luminol? Luminol is very neat.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
A Halogenated Substance
Hazard to Self
**




Posts: 67
Registered: 7-2-2017
Location: United States
Member Is Offline

Mood: Oxidizing due to extended exposure to oxygen

[*] posted on 20-3-2017 at 17:55


Quote: Originally posted by Booze  
Maybe you could demonstrate the synthesis of luminol? Luminol is very neat.


Considering it's a school science fair, perhaps extraction of fluorescein would be better.

https://youtu.be/zIpoLiesBgg

You could also demonstrate the extraction of chemicals using various solvents such as it is above.

Perhaps you could even do 'salting out' which involves adding salt to a water-organic solvent mixture to separate the organic solvent and water.




Current Active works in Progress:
-Convert i-propanol to i-chloropropane using HCl and ZnCl2
-Determine properties and solubility of a glycerol and citric acid polymer
-Attempt a conversion of chloroform to dichloromethane
-Attempt a conversion of acetic acid to acetamide
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
diggafromdover
Hazard to Self
**




Posts: 80
Registered: 24-2-2015
Location: New Hampshire
Member Is Offline

Mood: Inconherent

[*] posted on 21-3-2017 at 05:18


Destructive distillation of wood or coal.
look up "blue billy" for an interesting consequence of the latter process which your project could duplicate.




Enjoying second childhood with REAL chemistry set.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
urea1990
Harmless
*




Posts: 3
Registered: 20-3-2017
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 21-3-2017 at 06:04


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
Cheat.
http://www.compoundchem.com/archives/
[Edited on 20-3-2017 by j_sum1]


Thanks for this! Some of the articles there are pretty interesting - particularly Harvard losing solid hydrogen :(

[Edited on 21-3-2017 by urea1990]
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Melgar
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 817
Registered: 23-2-2010
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 22-3-2017 at 06:38


Some Wikipedia pages on iodine/iodide, if you're interested:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodide#Redox.2C_including_anti...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thyroid_hormones
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Liamatpm
Harmless
*




Posts: 45
Registered: 7-12-2016
Location: Maine
Member Is Offline

Mood: Using the process of cellular respiration to stay (barely) alive

[*] posted on 22-3-2017 at 09:34


Making a fuel cell is one of my favorites. Cody's Lab (on YouTube) has a video on how to make a fuel cell. It's very easy to make or at least in my opinion it is very cool.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Tetra
Hazard to Others
***




Posts: 132
Registered: 23-7-2015
Location: Yanov Station
Member Is Offline

Mood: High in Nitrogen

[*] posted on 23-3-2017 at 05:38


Quote: Originally posted by Booze  
Maybe you could demonstrate the synthesis of luminol? Luminol is very neat.


If he's in school and possibly just starting out (correct me if I'm wrong)
Then Luminol would be quite hard to do. There's like what, five, six steps/ separate syntheses?

I agree with the guy above, Fluoroscein would be better. Easily accessible as well.
View user's profile View All Posts By User

  Go To Top