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What's a good at home organic chemistry experiment I can do at home (nothing...

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victoriax | Student, Grade 11 | Honors

Posted May 8, 2013 at 2:21 AM via web

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What's a good at home organic chemistry experiment I can do at home (nothing too hard) and tell me the steps please.

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ncchemist | eNotes Employee

Posted May 11, 2013 at 2:53 PM (Answer #1)

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A good at home organic chemistry experiment that isn't too hard is using iodine to test the degree of saturation of different cooking oils.  Iodine is a solution of I2, a deeply colored compound.  Iodine readily reacts with carbon carbon double bonds to add an iodine atom on each of the carbons and convert the double bond to a single bond.  Cooking oils have different degrees of saturation, or hydrogen levels on their fatty acid chains.  Saturated fats have all carbon carbon single bonds (they are saturated with hydrogen).  Unsaturated fats have some carbon carbon double bonds present.  And monounsaturated have one double bond present. 

The experiment works like this.  You can test the degree of unsaturation in different oils by reacting each of them with iodine and measuring the amount needed to impart a color to the oil.  Take a sample of each of the oils and add an iodine solution (available at any pharmacy) dropwise with stirring.  As the iodine reacts with the double bonds in the fats, the oils will remain (relatively) colorless.  As soon as no more double bonds are present, the dark purple color of the iodine solution will remain.  The more drops of iodine required to reach the color point, the more unsaturated the oil is.

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