Candy Chromatography

Turn your Halloween candy into an awesome chemistry experiment!

Materials:
Candy with colorful coating
Flat plate or piece of foil
Coffee filter
Water
Pencil
Tape
Toothpicks
Clear glass or jar

Procedure:
1. Cut your coffee filter into a square.
2. In pencil, draw a line about one inch from the bottom of the filter. Using equally spaced increments, write the color of each candy on the bottom of your coffee filter.
3. Place one drop of water on your plate or piece of foil for each colored candy you want to test.
4. Put a piece of candy on top of the water drop and allow it to sit and dissolve for about a minute.

Procedure: Place Each Candy on a Drop of Water

Procedure: Place Each Candy on a Drop of Water

5. Remove the candy.

Procedure: Place a Drop of Color on Coffee Filter

Procedure: Place a Drop of Color on Coffee Filter

6. Using a clean toothpick for each color, place a small dot of the colored water on your coffee filter about an inch from the bottom above the appropriate color label.
7. Let the drop dry and repeat 2 or 3 more times.
8. Place a small amount of water in your glass or jar.
9. Tape your coffee filter to the pencil and place it over your glass or jar so the bottom of the filter just touches the surface.
10. When the water reaches about an inch from the top of the coffee filter, remove the filter and let it dry.
11. Observe your results!

What Happened and Why?
As the water soaks into the coffee filter, different components of each colored dye are separated. As you can probably see from your results, some colors are made up of a mixture of dyes. You’ll also notice that some colors are pulled farther up your coffee filter than others.

This is all explained by the fact that various dyes have their own chemical compositions, each of which separate at varying rates. Additionally, each chemical therein absorbs different wavelengths of light and by default expresses the ones it does not absorb, meaning that those not absorbed are the colors our eyes can detect.

Results

Results

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