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TESTING ONE, TWO, THREE

Use red cabbage as an indicator to test if a substance is an acid or base

Suitable For

Grade 8

Difficulty

3

Time Required

 <2 Days

Supervision

Required

What’s it about?

Chemistry can be used to test chemical substances to identify or learn more about them. Every chemical substance has different properties, for instance different melting points, different colours, and it may or may not combine with certain other chemical substances. ‘Indicators’ are substances that are used to tell whether a chemical is an acid or base.

Acids and bases are opposites and cancel each other out or ‘neutralizes’ when mixed together. ‘Litmus’ paper is an ‘indicator’ and turns red when mixed with an acid or blue when mixed with a base. In the following science experiment we will learn more about this by using juice from red cabbage as a chemical indicator:

Topics covered

Chemical reaction, Litmus, Acid, Base

What will I need?

  • RED CABBAGE
  • METAL PAN
  • STRAINER
  • TIMER
  • MEASURING CUP
  • MAGIC MARKER
  • PLASTIC BOWL
  • 5ml LEMON JUICE
  • 5ml DISTILLED WATER
  • 5ml BAKING SODA
  • 5ml VINEGAR
  • 5ml AMMONIA
  • 5x SMALL JARS
  • ADULT HELPER

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

This science experiment works because when a chemical ‘indicator’ is mixed with a chemical substance that is an acid or a base, a chemical reaction occurs. When the chemical reaction occurs, the acid or base changes the structure of the atoms or the ‘indicator’, by changing the way the electrons of the acid or base fit around the nucleus of its atoms, and thus causing the changing of the colour of the indicator. Cabbage juice is a chemical indicator in that it changes colour depending on the type of solution added to it. Compare your chart to the chart in the e-book indicating the expected results for this experiment.

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