High School Chemistry Projects and Experiments

High school chemistry projects are a great way to demonstrate the principles you have learned in chemistry class. The following projects give you an opportunity to show what you've learned, solve chemistry problems and create a cool project that will impress your high school chemistry class.

Using a Vegetable as a Battery
Hypothesis: The juice in a potato contains chemicals that can create electricity.

Materials

  • A fresh potato
  • Copper electrode
  • Zinc electrode
  • A meter to measure voltage and the amount of electricity produced
  • Alligator clips
  1. Insert the copper and zinc electrodes into the potato. The electrodes should be close but not touching.
  2. Determine the amount of electricity between the two electrodes by using the alligator clips to connect the electrodes to the meter.
  3. Depending on whether you have an analog or digital meter, the reading may be higher or lower. This is because the analog meter cannot read the voltage unless the electricity is produced much more quickly. This is also because an analog meter only gets its electricity from the potato, while the digital meter draws its power from a battery and no electricity is actually taken from the potato.

Variations: Try other fruits and vegetables. Connect several potatoes to run a light-emitting diode.

Soil as an Electrical System
Hypothesis: Soil can be used as an electrical system.

Materials

  • 1/4 cup of clay soil
  • 1-pint glass container
  • Six-volt battery (make sure there are two screws tops on the battery)
  • Two pieces of 12-gauge plastic insulated, multiple-strand wire.
  1. Put sixty grams of the clay soil in the pint container.
  2. Add one cup of water to the soil. Mix the soil and water.
  3. Wait for the different particles to settle, about 10 minutes.
  4. Strip two inches of insulation from both ends of each wire.
  5. Attach one end of each wire to the battery terminal and tighten the terminal cap.
  6. Place the free end of each wire about two inches down into the soil. The wires need to be two inches apart and they should not touch.
  7. Wait 10 to 15 minutes for results.
  8. Observe the wires when you remove them. Which wire has the most clay particles attached to it? Why does this happen? The wire attached to the positive terminal on the battery should have a coating of clay particles. You'll also see changes in the clay itself, indicating elements within the clay that are attracted to positive and negative electrical charges.

Can Dry Ice Inflate a Balloon?
Hypothesis: Vapors from dry ice can inflate a balloon.

Mataerials

  • Balloon
  • Dry Ice Pellets
  • Bucket or tub of water
  1. Stretch the uninflated balloon open.
  2. Drop (or have a partner drop) one or more dry ice pellets into the balloon. Be very careful handling dry ice. Never touch it with bare hands, as it can cause instant burns.
  3. Tie the balloon closed. Set it aside and observe it.
  4. You can also drop the balloon into a bucket or sink filled with water. This will help supply heat to the dry ice. At first, the balloon will sink. As it inflates, it will rise to the surface. If you put enough dry ice into the balloon, it will eventually reach the bursting point.

How Much Water Is In an Orange?
Hypothesis: An orange is 50% water.

Materials

  • Orange
  • Knife
  • Paper plate
  • Aluminum foil
  • Scale
  1. Weigh the orange.
  2. Weigh the paper and aluminum foil used to dry the orange.
  3. Cut the orange in very thin slices to speed up the drying process.
  4. Spread the slices over the paper, which is placed on the aluminum foil.
  5. Keep the pieces in a warm place until the are fully dry. This can take anywhere from 4 to 36 hours, dempending on the heat and airflow. You can use a 150-watt lamp and a fan to hasten the drying process.
  6. Weigh the orange slices once they're fully dried. The difference in weight is the amount of water lost while the orange was drying. 

Solubility of Salts and Sugar
This experiment measures the solubility of table salt (NaCl), Epsom salts (MgSO4), and sugar (sucrose, C12H22O11).

Materials

  • Distilled water
  • Metric liquid measuring cup (or graduated cylinder)
  • Three clean glass jars or beakers
  • Non-iodized table salt (NaCl)
  • Epsom salts (MgSO4)
  • Sugar (sucrose, C12H22O11)
  • Disposable plastic spoons
  • Thermometer
  • Three shallow plates or saucers
  • Oven
  • Electronic kitchen scale (accurate to 0.1 g)

Method 1

  1. Measure 100 ml of distilled water into each of the glass containers.
  2. Weigh out the solute to be tested.: 50g non-iodized table salt, 50g Epsom salts, 250 g sugar.
  3. Gradually add a small amount of one solute to the water in the first glass and stir with a clean disposable spoon until it's dissolved.
  4. Repeat this process for the other two solutes, always adding a small amount until the solute will no longer dissolve.
  5. Weigh the remaining solute to determine how much was added to the solution.
  6. Save your saturated solutions for the second method.

Method 2

  1. Prepare one saucer for each solution.
  2. Weigh the empty saucer and record the weight.
  3. Pour in 10-15 ml of the a saturated solution into one saucer. Repeat with the other two solutions, so that each is in its own saucer.
  4. Weigh each saucer and solution and record the weight.
  5. Put the saucers in an oven on low heat. Allow the water to evaporate.
  6. Re-weigh the saucers and the dry solutes. The result should be nearly identical to the amount of solute that was added to the water in Method 1.
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