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Transcript of Gassed
The affect of gasoline fumes on the growth of a plant
Gasoline is a colorless mixture of volatile, flammable liquid hydrocarbons derived of petroleum which is most commonly used for car fuel. Gasoline is a complex molecule made up of mostly of hydrocarbons, a molecule that is simply carbon and hydrogen. Gasoline also contains small traces of sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, and some metals. However these elements do not show up in the chemical formula for gasoline, which is C8H18. Gasoline is obtained in the refinement of crude oil. This is done in three main steps. The first step of obtaining gas from crude oil is the separation process. This step involves breaking the crude oil into various chemicals. The next step, conversion, breaks down the chemicals from step 1 into hydrocarbons. The final step, treatment, is when different hydrocarbons are combined with other elements to create different substances such as gasoline.
The plant I chose to use is a Rainbow Elephant Bush (Portulacaria afra). The Rainbow Elephant Bush is native to South Africa and in its native environment it can grow to be 5 meters (16.4 ft.) tall. It gets its name because elephants often use it as a food source in the wild. The Elephant Bush can survive extreme heat and drought, which makes it good for my experiment.
Encyclopedia Brittinnica "gasoline" http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/226565/gasoline
Cactus Collection, "Elephants in Your Garden Portulacaria" http://www.cactuscollection.com/articles/portulacaria.html
SJV Geology, "What is a Refinery" http://www.sjvgeology.org/oil/refinery.html
I believe that the gasoline will have a large effect on the height of the plants. I think that the plants not exposed to gas will grow taller than the plants that are exposed to gas. I also predict that the plants exposed to gas, even with proper light exposure and watering, will eventually die. This is because the combination of elements in gas can be toxic and even deadly.
8 Rainbow Bush Plants (any small plant works)
water and sunlight
Built 4 mini greenhouses (made of PVC pipe and painter's plastic)
Put 2 plants in each greenhouse
Put different amounts of gasoline in each greenhouse
no gas for greenhouse A
50 mg of gas in greenhouse B
100 mg of gas in greenhouse C
150 mg of gas in greenhouse D
Water plants regularly and observe height and color over the course of 1 month
I was unable to get accurate results from the experiment because of the fact that the plants froze to death after about a week and a half. In a way my hypothesis was correct because I said the plants exposed to gasoline would die. However, they died because of the cold, not the gas. If I were to do this experiment again, I would grow the plants in more sunlight, warmer temperatures, and with more water. The experimental procedure would remain the same.
Plant Heights average about 7.6 cm
The stems of the plants were a reddish green and the leaves were very small and light green
After 1 week
The gasoline stunk up my house forcing me to move the experiment outside
The light green leaves have slighted faded and become a light brownish green
The stems were still the same color
The average Height shrunk to 6.9 cm.
After 2 weeks
Most of the plants froze in the bitter cold
A small part of plants 2,3, and 6 were still alive
The plants are dry and hard and pieces were easily broken off