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Simple testing for presence carbon


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Simple testing for the presence of carbon

I tried to edit the title, but could not figure out how, so I changed it just above.





I'm in high school and I have a science project, I must test for carbon without testing gas emissions using the following materials/scenario.

1.) Take the center carbon rod from a heavy duty battery and scrape some of the powder off/or use the rod directly.


Create a chemical test and/or process to test the rod/powder for the presence of carbon without using
gas emissions as indication of carbon:

Example of the test exception: "I can't just burn it in oxygen and test the gas for CO2, because that would be using the gas to detect the carbon"

So my question is

How can I detect the carbon without testing gas emissions,

I need the simple basic way, cheap, It's a science project.


I've looked everywhere and cannot find anyway to do this, Please help me


Edited by generalklag
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  • 3 weeks later...

Here is an idea based on the reaction of the hydroxyl radical with graphite. Per this source "The reaction of hydroxyl radicals with carbon at 298 K" by M.F.R. Mulcahy, B.C. Young, to quote from the abstract:


"The reaction of free OH radicals with graphite was studied in a flow system by mass spectrometry, the OH being produced by the reaction H + NO2 → OH + NO. The OH radicals react rapidly at 298 K to produce approximately equal amounts of CO and CO2."


Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0008622375902687


The reactions, involving radical species, appear to proceed as follows:


C + OH → CO + H (Source: see http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroxyl_radical

CO + OH → CO2 + H (Source: see http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0082078475803432 )

H + OH + M → H2O + M (Source: see https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=aGAwVPW-OsrlsAS-rII4&url=http://www.nist.gov/data/PDFfiles/jpcrd9.pdf&cd=6&ved=0CDMQFjAF&usg=AFQjCNFsRKYlwzIasvags7FxSiEgsZdq2w&sig2=1grL8k3UWaTU9-wIclokfQ )


I would, in your case, create the OH radicals via the photolysis of an aqueous nitrate (as a source, see, for example, the abstract at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22819875 ), like KNO3, in the presence of lime water where the formation of CO2 produces a precipitate of CaCO3.


With time and uv exposure, a gas built-up could occur (CO, CO2). Cool and shake the reaction vessel and you may be able to witness a cloudy suspension of CaCO3 being formed and a reduction in volume. The magnitude of CaCO3 produced is the indicator test for the presence of Carbon.


To test for the presence of Carbon monoxide, open the vessel and extract the remaining gas, add O2 and heat. Repeat test for CO2 per above.


The hydroxyl radical appears, in practice, to be a powerful agent in the enviromental remediation of toxic organic compounds, which puts a green bent on your science project.

Edited by ajkoer
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