Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cheeto Conductivity

In this experiment we wanted to find out if Cheetos conduct electricity. For this experiment we used a multimeter, water, and various other liquids.

The test to see if Cheetos, or anything, conducts electricity is easy - turn a multimeter to the connectivity setting (it usually has a symbol that looks like a speaker), and touch the probes of the multimeter to a different side of the thing you are testing. We touched the probes to either side of a Cheeto and quickly determined that they do not conduct electricity.

To make the experiment a little more interesting, we wanted to determine if Cheetos resist or help the flow of electricity through water. This was our experiment.
  1. We taped the leads of our multimeter against the sides of a plastic cup.
  2. We filled the cup with water to the point were water was touching both leads.
  3. We turned the meter to 2000 ohms and measured 251. This was our baseline.
  4. We then crushed up several Cheetos.
  5. We added the crushed Cheetos to the water and read the new measurement. It was 165.
Because the value of resistance went down, that would indicate that something in the Cheetos helps the electrons through the water from one probe to the other.  Substances that conduct electricity are called electrolytes.

Just for fun, we tested the resistance of various other liquids to see if they are electrolytes. Here are our results.

Tap Water251
Tap Water + Cheetos165
Apple Juice350

Observations: The values of the substances changed with time, more so on the items that are normally kept cold. To get a more accurate measurement, we should probably let the items come to room temperature before testing them.

Here's a small factoid we discovered. The resistance of milk can be used to determine the health of of a cow. Here is a link to a study that was done on buffalo cows. There is a high correlation between a higher than normal resistivity in milk and infected cows.

This was a fun project. The kids liked learning to use the multimeter, and they liked coming up with different liquids to test.

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