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The Measuring the Length of a Molecule Chemical Demonstration Kit helps students picture the length of a molecule. Using ethyl alcohol solution, lycopodium powder and oleic acid, students learn of the Langmuir method and micelle formation.

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Help your students visualize the length of a single molecule. First, the surface of water is dusted with lycopodium powder, then a drop of oleic acid solution is placed directly in the center. The oleic acid will spread out in a circle, displacing the lycopodium powder so that it forms a ring that is visible to the eye. By simply measuring the size of the circle formed by the oleic acid with a ruler, you can calculate the length of a single oleic acid molecule.

Concepts: Langmuir method, micelle formation, physical properties.
Time Required: 15 minutes

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Developing and using models

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
HS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter

Crosscutting Concepts

Scale, proportion, and quantity

Performance Expectations

MS-PS1-1. Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.