Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hot Cold BAM!

Heat capacity is the amount of energy needed to raise a substance 1*C. Heat capacities depend on the amount of the liquid and how it is contained.

Specific heat is the amount of heat needed to raise 1 gram of a substance 1*C. Specific heat is measured using a formula with J/gC. (Apparently that now stands for Jancaitis gone crazy instead of Joules per grams Celsius.)

We re-learned endo and exothermic reactions.We discussed them in the reaction unit, but are revisiting the topic because now we are also going to be calculating heat changes and specific heat values.

Endothermic reactions absorb heat and get warmer (End Up).

Exothermic reactions lose or release heat and get colder (Exit down). 

To test this out, students in groups were given a whack-a-pack and asked to make observations. The pack starts off at room temperature and when you hit it, the reaction occurs. This is a chemical reaction for a few reasons - one you can hear it fizzing. Two it blows up so a gas is being formed (1 of the 4 ways you know a chemical reaction has occurred). And Three there is a temperature change (another of the four ways). The pack gets really cold which means it is releasing heat and this is an exothermic reaction.

Watch this little video to see how it works. These are available at Dollar Tree at Valentine's Day if you are interested.

After this lab demo, students answered questions and then worked on math practice for heat changes and specific heat.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Solutions, Suspensions, and Colloids... oh my!

Solutions are homogeneous well-mixed mixtures that cannot be separated easily (a change in phase) - like kool-aid or saltwater. Suspensions will settle and separate over time because of gravity or because of differences in density - like oil and water or orange juice with pulp. Suspensions are heterogeneous. Colloids are weird. Colloids should settle and separate over time but because the particles are super-tiny just running into each other (Brownian motion) keeps them in suspension. Colloids can also represent two different phases so if it seems weird like you cannot classify it as just one phase - like fog, jello, whipped cream - it's a colloid.

We also discussed colligative properties. Adding solutes to a solution changes basic properties like melting points and boiling points, no matter what solute is added. A perfect tie-in for today. Salt is put on our roadways to LOWER the freezing point of water to about -4*C. Because the freezing point is lowered, the ice appears to melt and stay liquid, thus making our roads less icy. They do not salt the roads in places where the normal daily temperature is below 0 because the salt would have little effect.

Because it doesn't matter what the solute is, sugar could be used for the same purpose - it is just a lot more expensive! To read more, click here

Electrolytes can conduct electricity because the solute breaks up into ions and the ions can carry the electric current. Pure water does not conduct electricity - but water with solutes in it can. We did an in-class demo similar to this one to test some solutions. Salt water does conduct electricity, but sugar water does not because of the carbon. Gatorade conducts electricity but barely because of the high sugar amount in the drink.

Molarity is moles/Liters and is a quantitative way to measure concentration. Molarity descirbes with numbers if a solution is dilute or concentrated. It is a pretty easy formula so students zoomed through it. Molarity changes with the amount of solute OR the amount of solvent (liquid) so we will be discussing dilutions tomorrow.

Friday, April 26, 2013


We have made sure that everyone had a good handle on density in regards to definition, math and formulas, and what it actually means.

Density measures matter in a given volume or the amount of stuff in a space. It can also refer to the amount of space between molecules. We looked at some diagrams and discussed scientifically why a person cannot walk through walls, why moving through air is easy, and why moving through water is slightly more difficult.

Density is how close together the particles are in a substance. If they are close together the substance is more dense. If the particles are far apart, the substance is less dense. I do not float in Lake Anna, but I do float in the ocean - therefore I am more dense than Lake Anna and less dense than the ocean.

Things that are more dense-sink, things that are less dense-rise to the top, things with similar densities-mix. If you were to pour liquids in a random order layers form because of the differences in density. Here is a photo of a demo.