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A LITTLE FUN WITH OXYGEN

We have all heard about oxygen. It is an odorless, colorless gas which constitutes approximately 20 percent of the air. The brilliant scientist tells us that it is a little heavier than air. I guess that means that pure oxygen is heavier than air that contains 20 % oxygen.

Life cannot exist without oxygen. We all need it in order to live. "We all" includes not only people, but tigers, lizards, trees, mosses, fish, algae, crocodiles, bugs, and every other living thing.

Whenever anything burns, it unites with oxygen. I don't think anything can burn without oxygen. That is why a small fire can be "smothered" by cutting off the air supply to the fire.

Oxygen can be produced in several ways.

a. Place one tablespoon of dry yeast in the bottom of a heat-resistant bottle or flask. Add 1 tablespoon of 6 percent hydrogen peroxide, and watch the bubbling of oxygen gas.

[Be sure to use fresh peroxide. Light destroys peroxide, so get the kind that is in a dark bottle and use it right away. Otherwise, the peroxide will be mostly water.]

The gas can be collected in quantity by placing a one- hole stopper tightly into a flask. Insert a short glass tube into the flask. Attach an 18-inch-long piece of rubber tubing to the other end of the glass tube.

Now put about 2 inches of water in a low pan or dish. Fill two test tubes or bottles with water and invert them in the dish. Place the free end of the rubber tubing in one of the test tubes (or bottles).

Oxygen gas will bubble through the water in the test tubes. If bubbles are no longer being generated, simply add more peroxide.

b. Put a heaping spoonful of activated charcoal pieces in a container such as a heat-resistant baby bottle. Cover the charcoal with 6 percent hydrogen peroxide. cover the bottle with a lid, plastic wrap, or cardboard to trap the oxygen that is produced.

 
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