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Inquiry-based Chemistry Experiment (1)

118
Oxygen Absorber

Student Handout

Purposes
To analyse qualitatively an oxygen absorber sample taken from moon cake package.

Introduction
In a moon cake package, there is often a packet of oxygen absorber provided with each
moon cake. In this activity, you will plan and carry out an investigation to find out the
chemical nature of the oxygen absorber.

Tasks
1. Search for information about the chemical principles of oxygen absorber. You may
use search engines e.g. http://www.google.com.hk using oxygen absorber and
oxygen scavenger as keywords. In your searching, have the following questions
in mind:
What type of food substances may have a packet of oxygen absorber?
What are the chemical principles involved?
What chemicals can act as oxygen absorber?
Can it be an element or a compound?
What substances are possible materials for oxygen absorber?
2. Now you may have some idea about the chemical nature of the oxygen absorber in
mind. Design step-by-step procedures to investigate qualitatively the oxygen
absorber found in the moon cake package. You may consider the following issues
when designing your experiments.
If it is an element, is it a metal or non-metal? What are the properties of metals
in general?
If it is a compound, is it an organic compound or inorganic compound?
If it is an organic compound, what functional groups are responsible for
absorbing oxygen? How do you test these functional groups?
If it is an inorganic compound, is it ionic or covalent?
If it is ionic, how do you test the cation(s) and anion(s) present?
The chemicals and apparatus to be used and the safety precautions to be taken.
3. Before carrying out your investigation, seek advice from your teacher on the details
of your proposed experiments.
4. Carry out your investigation and record all observations. You are expected not to
spend more than 2 periods in doing the experimental work.
5. Write up a report for your investigation. Your report should include:
the underlying chemical principle of oxygen absorber in food storage (chemical
equations are expected).
a table summarizing the experiments that you have carried out and the results
obtained.
a conclusion on the chemical nature of the oxygen absorber.
some suggestions for further work on oxygen absorber.
Inquiry-based Chemistry Experiment (1)

119
a list of references (format of referencing: Author. (Year) Title of publication.
Page numbers. City: Publisher.; for references in the Internet: Author. (Year)
Title. Accessed on Date. Available URL: )

Safety
Avoid direct contact with chemicals. Dispose of chemical wastes and excess
materials according to your teachers instructions. Safety information about
the chemicals used or produced in your investigation is available from
relevant Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs).

Materials and Apparatus

Conc. H
2
SO
4
(l), conc. HCl(aq)


Conc. HNO
3
(aq)

1 M H
2
SO
4
(aq), 0.1 M HNO
3
(aq) , 0.4 M NaOH(aq) 0.2 M BaCl
2
(aq)

1 M HCl(aq) 0.01 M KMnO
4
(aq) 0.001 M K
2
Cr
2
O
7
(aq)
0.05 M AgNO
3
(aq) Lime water 0.5 M NH
3
(aq)
Test tubes Test tube rack Well-plate Wooden splint
pH paper Combustion tube Watch glass Delivery tube
Plastic pipettes Droppers Glass rod
Oxygen absorber for food packaging

Other chemicals or apparatus may be provided upon request.




EYE PROTECTION
MUST BE WORN
HARMFUL
CORROSIVE CORROSIVE OXIDISING
IRRITANT