How does this definition of chemistry relate to this lab? chemistry is the science that deals with the composition and properties of ssubstances.and various forms of matter. The lab was where we...

How does this definition of chemistry relate to this lab? chemistry is the science that deals with the composition and properties of ssubstances.and various forms of matter.

The lab was where we burned a candle and made quantative and qualitative observations on it. 

How does this lab relate to this definition? 

Asked on by mbrooks135

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caledon | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I can imagine that you measured things like the color and height of the flame, the length of time that it burned, and if you had the right  instruments, the heat of the flame and how it diminished with distance.

All of these things were determined by the composition of the candle, the wick, and the air. Fire is a relatively simple chemical reaction, in which oxygen and a carbon source are consumed as fuel, producing heat and carbon dioxide as products (this is a highly simplified interpretation of the reaction though). So, if we look at the details of your definition;

Composition: the composition of matter has to do with the atoms that it is made of. If you didn't have the right atoms available, the reaction won't take place. Additionally, the wax in the candle melted but the wick directly burned; this also had to do with their composition and how readily they reacted with each other. You also know that things besides candles will burn, which indicates that there is something in common with their composition; now that you've made quantitative and qualitative measurements of the candle reaction, you could probably do the same for another carbon compound, compare them, and make some guesses about their chemical structure.

Properties: Again, with the wax, it has the property of greater resistance to the reaction, which caused it to become a liquid rather than sublimating (going directly from solid to gas) like the wick did. You could also argue that having two separate states of matter (solid and gas) in the form of the wick and the air was probably a determining factor in how the reaction proceeded; for example, all of the air around the wick was available for burning, but the wick that was not exposed to the air was relatively useless until revealed.

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