What chlorophyll conceals
How many components does chlorophyll contain?
Warning! Only under adult supervision.
- kerosene or lighter fluid;
- acetone nail polish remover;
- watercolor paper strip;
- mortar and pestle;
- spinach leaves,;
- piece of cotton wool;
Dice some spinach leaves and crush them in a mortar. Insert a piece of cotton wool in a funnel and rinse the crushed leaves through it with antiseptic. Apply a coat of the resulting solution to a watercolor paper strip and dry it with a hairdryer. Repeat several times to make the spot of color more vivid. Mix kerosene or lighter fluid with acetone nail polish remover in a glass in a 9:1 ratio. Dip the watercolor paper strip in this solvent – the green spot splits into several more!
Chlorophyll consists of several substances, each of which has a different color. As it passes through the paper, the solvent takes these substances with it. The paper slows each substance down differently, so they travel different distances. In this case, chlorophyll’s components will separate on the paper only if a special solvent is used; a mixture of kerosene (or lighter fluid) and acetone from the nail polish remover is suitable for this purpose. Everyone can be a scientist – even at home!
A safer version of this experiment is included in “Colorings” set from the MEL Science subscription.