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Surface Area to Volume Effects


This demonstration is a product of Nanosense ( Included in your kit is a guide with directions. For further information please check here.




In this demonstration you will be exploring the effect of varying surface area to volume ratios of the same materials on the rate of reaction.



Fill up both 100ml beakers half full with water.



Add one teaspoon of Copper chloride hydrate (CuCl2•2H20) crystals to each beaker.



Mix well with the stirring rod.



Form one 2"x2" piece of aluminum foil into a loose ball and leave the other as is.



Add the aluminum ball piece into the beaker.



Record the amount of time that it takes for the reaction to be complete.



Now take the flat piece of aluminum and add it to the second beaker.



Try and keep the piece as flat as possible.



Record the amount of time it takes for the reaction to be complete.



Compare the time it took for each reaction.


What does this say about the surface area to volume ratio and the effect on reaction time?


Note: Do not dispose of waste down the drain. It is harmful to the environment.

Surface Area to Volume Effects

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This presentation meets the following California Science Standards:

Physical Science

  • K–4: Properties of materials can be observed, measured, and predicted
  • 5–8: Structure and properties of matter
  • 5–8: Physical principles underlie biological structures and functions
  • 9–12: Atomic and molecular structure
  • 9–12: Chemical bonds
  • 9–12: Solutions
  • 9–12: Reaction Rates

Investigation and Experimentation

  • K–4: Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions
  • 5–8: Ability to conduct scientific inquiry
  • 9–12: Formulate explanations by using logic and evidence

Technical and educational staff services are possible through the generosity of the National Science Foundation through support via the NNIN.