Teacher Supplement


Science Activities in Energy

Chemical Energy

 1. Will nylon disintegrate as fast as cotton?

 A major problem with some synthetic material — nylon for example — is what to do with it when it is no longer useful

 2. Which produces more suds in your water, soap or detergent?

 Detergents, which are chemicals made from petroleum, are more efficient cleansing agents than soap. especially in hard water. Some scientists think oil is too valuable to be burned as fuel and should be reserved to manufacture synthetic materials such as detergents, plastics, etc.

 3. How rapidly does a plant make starch?

 The basic product of photosynthesis is sugar which is immediately transformed into other products such as starch and protein.

 4. Are small amounts of soap or detergent harmful to the growth of plants?

 The extent of the detrimental effects on the environment of many synthetic materials derived from fossil fuels requires intensive and extensive study.

 5. Which type of soil makes beets and radishes grow best?

 Most soils require fertilizer to maintain their ability to grow food and fiber. A great deal of oil and gas is required to make chemical fertilizer. Compost is nature’s way of recycling minerals.

6. How does a mixture of ashes and water differ from plain water?

One of the problems with burning wood and coal is disposing of their ashes. This test is for alkalinity, and shows one of the chemical properties of ash.

 7. How much methane can you collect in two days from 1/2 cup of coal?

 The mining of coal is a hazardous occupation because many mines have high concentrations of methane gas. The prospect of increased use of coal to satisfy energy needs highlights the seriousness of this problem.

8. Which flows fastest: light oil, heavy oil, or water?

 The viscosity, or ease with which a liquid flows, is important in predicting how useful it is in protecting cold engines from wear. The value of oil as a lubricant cannot be overestimated.

 9. Which reduces friction more: a number 40 oil, a number 10 oil or an edible oil?

 The lubricating properties of oil are as important as an oil’s value as a fuel.