Educator Info: Analyze Candy Using Chromatography
Someone has stolen a valuable object from the Museum, and you need to solve the crime! Your clue is some broken pieces of candy that were found at the crime scene. The suspects each had a different type of candy in their pockets. How can you analyze the candy – without tasting it! – to figure out what kind it is and allow you to identify the thief? You’ll use a technique called chromatography, a method for analyzing complex mixtures (such as candy or ink) by separating them into the chemicals from which they are made. Forensic scientists often use chromatography in their work.
Lesson at a glance
Explore the different types of pigments used to color candy. How do the pigments in various candies differ?
Students Will Know:
Chromatography - A technique used to separate the components of a chemical mixture
Pigment - A substance or material used as coloring
Soluble - Capable of being dissolved
Students Will Be Able To:
Use the process of paper chromatography to separate the colored pigments in candy
Illinois Learning Standards
State Goal 11: 11.A.2b, 11.A.2d
State Goal 12: 12.C.2b
Middle/Junior High School
State Goal 11: 11.A.3b; 11.A.3f
State Goal 12: 12.12C.3b
Paper chromatography separates the different colored pigments used in the candy because certain colors are more soluble in water than others. Colors that are more soluble in water dissolve easier and spread out with the water as it moves across the paper. Forensic scientists might do paper chromatography on a ransom note to determine what kind of pen the criminal used!
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