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Investigation to see how different concentrations of a sucrose solution affect osmosis in a Potato chip

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Introduction

Investigation to see how different concentrations of a sucrose solution affect osmosis in a Potato chip. Scientific background: Osmosis is the diffusion of water molecules from a region of high water concentration to a region of lower water concentration through a selectively permeable membrane. This is done normally to form equilibrium between the solutions. Osmosis is mostly known for taking place in plants, where water is drawn from the soil into the root hair cell, as the cell has a solution of higher concentration than the water in soil. As the root hair cell absorbs more water, its solution becomes more dilute, and this is how water is passed along the cells of the plant. This flow of water also contains dissolved mineral salts. When cells absorb a lot of water, they become turgid, with the cell wall stopping them from bursting. This is how plants stand up in order to reach sunlight, etc. The selectively permeable membrane basically only lets molecules through of a certain size, such as in the sucrose solution, where the water molecules are much smaller than the sugar molecules. The membrane would have holes in it just big enough for the water molecules to fit through, so the much bigger sugar molecules wouldn't be able to pass through it. This is why when a plant cell is placed in a solution of low concentration; it will absorb water, making the solution more concentrated, until equilibrium between the solutions (including the solution in the plant cell) ...read more.

Middle

After 2 minutes, I would then remove the potato chip and blot the excess solution off of it, before weighing it a second time on the electronic balance, and then also recording this weight in the same table as before. I would then throw this potato chip away. Next, I would take another potato chip and repeat this process again, except I would use a sucrose solution of the next molarity concentration, in this case, 0.2 mol. Then I would repeat this whole process until I had worked my way through all the different concentrations of the sucrose solution I will be using (0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, 1.0 mol) and the potato chips I had cut to size. Next, I would take 6 more potato chips and cut them into 2cm long pieces, using the scalpel, cutting board and the ruler. Then I would do the whole experiment again, to get repeat readings of the data I had just collected, using the same concentration of solution that each beaker had previously contained. In-between each measurement of solution, I would rinse out the measuring cylinder and dry it with a paper towel, as to not contaminate the carefully sucrose solutions. I intend to use 6 different concentrations so as to make it easier to see a trend or pattern in my results, therefore making my results clearer and much simpler to understand. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lastly, instead of rounding up the numbers, I could have worked with them as they were, and maybe I could have used an electronic balance that went up to 5 decimal places, for extreme accuracy. I believe my data to be semi-reliable, although I did 2 repeats of each concentration of sucrose solution, this isn't good enough. I would have preferred to do 5 repeats for ultimate accuracy. Also the timing was inadequate, as was the cutting of the potato. However, my graph at the end proves my prediction correct, and as my prediction relies on the action of osmosis to work, this means that my experiment must have also worked reasonably well. To further research into osmosis and how it can be affected/ affects living things, there are other tests I could carry out. I could do a detailed study into the change of mass of a plant in earth. I would have to take a sapling of a plant, weigh this carefully, and then plant it. This plant would then be watered carefully, with a certain amount of water to be decided upon (a controlled factor). The plant would have to be covered to prevent evaporation. Throughout the experiment, a specific environment would have to be kept, to insure a fair test is carried out. At the end of a certain time period (about 2 weeks, perhaps) the plant would be dug out, washed briefly, and then weighed. This would tell you more about the rate of osmosis in plants, and how it affects their growth in mass. ...read more.

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