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Surface Area of food and Rate of Reaction

Background Information: Simulating the process of digestion to


demonstrate the conditions in mammals. In this experiment, marble chip
(calcium carbonate) represents the food and hydrochloric acid represents
the digestive juices. Stomach enzymes require acidic conditions.
Aim: To demonstrate the relationship between surface area and rate of
reaction.
Hypothesis: The higher the surface area the faster the rate of reaction.
Calcium carbonate powder will diffuse faster than the marble chips. This is
because the calcium carbonate powder has a higher surface area to
volume ratio than the marble chips.
Materials:
4x test-tubes
Marble chips
Calcium carbonate
Test-tube rack
Hydrochloric acid
Electronic balance
Stop watch
2x Measuring cylinder
Risk Assessment:
Risk
Hydrochloric
acid

Level
High

Control Measures
Wear safety glasses at all times because
hydrochloric acid could cause severe eye burns.
Handle with care and avoid spills. If the
hydrochloric acid comes into contact with your
skin, immediately rinse it off.

Variables:

Independent variable: The size of calcium carbonate particle


Dependent variable: Time
Controlled variable: Same chemical (calcium carbonate), the same
concentration of the hydrochloric acid, same mass of calcium
carbonate and same timing device

Method:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Set up test-tube rack with 4 test-tubes


Measure the mass of a marble chip on a petri dish
Measure the same amount of calcium carbonate powder
Transfer both to separate test-tubes
Measure 10mL of acid into 2 separate measuring cylinders

6. Pour the acid into the test-tubes. Start the stopwatch


7. Repeat steps 2-6

Results:
Attempt
Attempt 1
Attempt 2

Materials
Marble chip
Powder
Marble chip
Powder

Mass
0.33
0.33
0.6
0.6

Acid (ml)
20
20
10
10

Time
>10 min
10 sec
>10 min
1 min

Conclusion: The results attained from the experiment suggest that a


solid which is broken down into small pieces has a larger surface area to
volume ratio. This increases the rate of reaction. This is why teeth grind
large food materials into smaller pieces, to increase surface area so the
rate of reaction would be faster.
Discussion:
1. Describe the safety precautions that should be taken.
Since dealing with hydrochloric acid, safety glasses must be worn at
all times. Handle the chemicals with care to avoid spills. To avoid the
hydrochloric acid from coming into contact with the skin, it is
important to wear latex gloves. If the acid comes into contact with
the skin, rinse it off immediately. Also leather shoes must also be
worn to minimise the risk of acid coming into contact with the skin.
2. What is meant by rate of reaction? Explain why a stopwatch
was needed.
Rate of reaction is the speed at which the reactants are converted to
products. A stopwatch was needed to accurately measure the time it
takes for the conversion.
3. Identify the trend between rate of reaction and surface area
of calcium carbonate.

Increasing the surface area of calcium carbonate will result in faster


reaction.
4. Explain the role of teeth in digestion, using the results of
the experiment.
The role of teeth in digestion is that it increases the surface area of
food for faster chemical digestion. Teeth breaks down food into
small pieces and this increases the surface area to volume ratio.
Increased surface area to volume ratio means faster chemical
reaction. This is how teeth help to digest food quickly.