Red cabbage juice ph indicator

16-3 Red Cabbage Juice pH Indicator Sources: Prof. George Ewing’s C100 Demonstration Notes; Prof. Carolyn Huffman’s Fall ’93 C100 lecture; B. Z. Shakhashiri, 1989, Chemical Demonstrations: A Handbook for Teachers of Chemistry, vol. 3, pp 162-166. Description and Concept: Red cabbage juice will change to a variety of colors when added to solutions of various pH. Red cabbage juice is a pH indicator. Materials: red cabbage* blender hot or boiling water filter paper (coffee filters work well) 1 liter beaker Six 250 mL beakers Professors/Instructors please specify which chemicals you wish to use. Some that we may have on hand are: household ammonia (NH3) baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3) washing soda (sodium carbonate, Na2CO3) lemon juice (citric acid, C6H8O7) vinegar (acetic acid, CH3COOH) cream of tartar (Potassium bitartrate, KHC4H4O6) Other household items that may be used include: antacids (calcium carbonate, calcium hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide…), seltzer water (carbonic acid, H2CO3), muriatic acid or masonry’s cleaner (hydrochloric acid, HCl), or lye (potassium hydroxide, KOH or sodium hydroxide, NaOH). Safety: Hydrochloric acid and Sodium Hydroxide are strong irritants. You should wear safety goggles and disposable gloves for this demo, especially if you choose to use HCl and NaOH. Procedure: Chop cabbage into small pieces. Put cabbage in 5 liter beaker and then cover with boiling water, let stand for 10 minutes or more (the more you wait the more potent your indicator). OR Put about 2 cups of cabbage in a blender, cover with boiling water, and blend. Filter out the plant material to get the red-purple-bluish colored liquid. This liquid is at about pH 7. Pour about 50 – 100 mLs of your red cabbage indicator into each 250 mL beaker. Add your indicator to various household solutions until you see a color change. For example: Ammonia will turn your indicator green, NaOH -yellow, vinegar -red, and HCl – a deep red. You could do a neutralization experiment with the indicator. First add an acidic solution such as vinegar or lemon juice to get a reddish color, then add baking soda or antacids*** to bring the pH back towards a neutral 7. Clean-Up: All of the chemicals used in this demo can be washed down the drain with water. Background: Red cabbage contains a pigment called flavin. This pigment is also found in red poppies, blue cornflowers, grapes, and apple skin. Depending on the pH of the fruit or plant the pigment will give a different color. This pigment can be used to indicate pH. pH is the -log[H+]. Acids increase the concentration of hydrogen ions ([H+]) in a solution and therefore have a low pH. A base will increase the concentration of hydroxide ions ([OH-]) (decreasing the [H+]) in a solution and will have a high pH. Notes: *Another household item from which a pH indicator can be extracted is Ex-Lax. Phenolphthalein is a commonly used indicator available from most chemical supply companies in its concentrated form. A small concentration of phenolphthalein is used as a laxative in Ex-Lax. Caution: Never use concentrated phenolphthalein as a laxative. Death may be the result. Dissolve Ex-Lax tablet in ethanol to make indicator. Prof. Tim Starn told me that if a physician suspects that a case of diarrhea was caused by an ExLax prank, they will test for phenolphthalein by exposing the patients ” sample” to UV light. ** The blender method of preparation was done Fall ’93 in Prof. Huffman’s C100 class. It worked well in class with hot water from the tap. The other method of preparation has been done by Prof. Ewing. I have prepared the indicator in this way and it works well also. ***Antacid tablets will only neutralize the acid very slightly ( maybe it will bring the pH up from 1 to 1. 2). You will not observe a color change in your indicator. The baking soda will neutralize more acid and will bring about a color change. This could stimulate a discussion about the effectiveness of antacids versus baking soda as a treatment for acid indigestion. It turns out that the antacids are best because you would not want to completely neutralize your stomach acid. The antacid tablet is really meant to neutralize the stomach acid that has entered the esophagus (which causes the heart burn). If a person ingested too much baking soda, they could actually be in danger of changing the pH of their stomach and blood dramatically. Many chemical processes and enzymes in our bodies require a specific pH. For example, we would not be able to digest our food properly if our stomach was not at an acidic pH.