The Cotton Lab


Introduction:

At high temperatures, oxygen is so active chemically that it will unite readily with almost every other element. At ordinary temperatures, it is only moderately active. There are a few oxygen-containing compounds, however, that may react violently with certain other substances even at relatively low temperatures. Sodium peroxide is one.

Purpose:

  1. To see how an oxygen-containing compound is very reactive even at low temperatures.

Materials:

  1. Beaker
  2. Some warm water
  3. A pinch of sodium peroxide
  4. (2) Cotton swabs

Procedure:

  1. With a spoon or metal spatula, place a few grains of sodium peroxide on a small wad of absorbent cotton in a beaker.
  2. Add a drop or two of warm water.

Questions:

  1. What happened to the cotton? Why?