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Natural Buffers


Source Institutions

    Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

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Natural Buffers

Learners use a universal indicator to test the amount of sodium hydroxide needed to change the pH of plain water compared with the amount needed to change the pH of gelatin. Learners discover that living systems must maintain a constant pH to survive, and buffers help them maintain a constant pH in the presence of excess acid or base. This activity is currently used in the Biochemistry Unit in OMSI's Chemistry Lab. Cost estimates are per 100 learners. For safety reasons, this activity works best as a demonstration for younger audiences.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
Under 5 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 14 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Experiment/Lab Activity

Language:
English

Materials List (per group of students)


  • Two 50-ml flasks or beakers
  • Two 25-ml graduated cylinders
  • One 60-ml dropper bottle
  • One 30-ml dropper bottle
  • Universal indicator (keep 500 ml on hand)
  • Two 250-ml squirt bottles
  • Experiment copy with the universal indicator chart in color
  • 1M NaOH (sodium hydroxide) (keep 200 ml on hand) —OR— solid NaOH (keep 50 g on hand)
  • Dry gelatin (keep 250 g on hand)
  • 95% C2H5OH (ethyl alcohol or ethanol) (keep 500 ml on hand )
  • 250- to 500-ml plastic storage bottle
  • Small pipettes

Subjects


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Chemistry of Life
    • Human Body
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Acids and Bases
      • Chemistry of Life
      • Solutions

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Other


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

Rights:

  • All Rights Reserved, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, ©1997

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation

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