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Activity 38 OZONE IN THE AIR

Background Information Ground level ozone, O3, is a secondary photochemical pollutant formed by numerous reactions involving VOCs and oxides of nitrogen. It is also produced by lightning, electrical motors, arc welders and by copiers and laser printers. It is a highly reactive oxidizing agent that strips electrons from molecules that it encounters. Obviously when living tissue comes into contact with higher than normal ozone levels serious damage can occur. Lung tissue is especially susceptible to injury. This is why asthmatics are caution to restrict outdoor activity during Ozone Action Days. Crops and trees are also damaged by higher than normal ozone concentrations. Ozone damages cell walls and chlorophyll molecules reducing the capacity of leaves to carry on photosynthesis. The productivity and health of affected crops and trees can be seriously reduced due to foliar damage. Crops most sensitive to ozone damage include soybeans, clover, alfalfa, soybeans, sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes and lettuce. Christian Frederick Schoenbein discovered ozone in 1839 during his tenure as a professor at Basel, Switzerland. He used the reactivity of ozone to measure and to prove that it is a naturally occurring component of the atmosphere. It is present in the stratosphere where it is needed to protect life on earth from the harsh effects of ultraviolet light. In the troposphere, however, it is regarded as a pollutant because of its oxidizing effects on materials. Students will produce and use Schoenbein (or Schnbein) paper to observe ozone levels. Schoenbein paper is simply a strip of paper coated with a mixture of plant starch and potassium iodide. This activity is based on the oxidizing ability of ozone. A special paper called the Schoenbein (or Schnbein) paper will be used to measure and prove the presence of ozone in the community. You will prepare the Schoenbein paper by dipping strip of filter paper into a starch KI solution. When the strips are 3exposed to O3 and water, a triiodide ion, I , is formed which complexes with the starch molecules to produce the reddish-blue color associated with the often used starch-iodine test. Ozone in the air will oxidize the potassium iodide on the Schoenbein paper to produce iodine. The iodine reacts with the starch to produce a purple color. The shade of purple on exposed Schoenbein paper correlates with the concentration of ozone present in the air at the test site. The two chemical reactions follow: 2KI + 03 + H2O 2KOH + O2 + I2 I2 + starch Blue or Purple color What you shall be able to do 1. Prepare Schoenbein paper. 2. Measure and prove the presence of ozone in your area by using the Schoenbein paper. 3. Students will be able to draw conclusions about ozone levels of the air based on test results. 4. What you need Potassium iodide (KI) Tripod Wire gauze Beaker, 250cm3 What you should do A. Preparation of Schoenbein paper 1. Place 100 mL of distilled water in a 250-mL beaker. Stir in approximately 5 g of cornstarch. 2. Heat the mixture, over low heat, while stirring, until it is thick and translucent. 3. Remove the beaker from the heat. Stir approximately 1 g of potassium iodide into the mixture. Cornstarch Filter paper Watch glass Graduated cylinder Distilled water Stirring rod Alcohol lamp Spray bottle filled with distilled water

4. Cool the solution. 5. Depending on the number of your intended test sites, cut out several pieces of filter paper, measuring 3 cm x 10 cm. Lay a piece of filter paper on a piece of filter paper and use a small paint brush or Popsicle stick to apply the paste evenly onto both sides of the filter paper. Apply the paste as uniformly as possible. You may also soak the pieces of filter paper into the starch-KI solution. The paper can be exposed for immediate testing at this point. Proceed to Procedure B.2. NOTE: If the papers will not be used immediately, follow the steps below for drying. # Use soap to wash hands and scrub under fingernails after working with potassium iodide!! Storing the paper Allow the paper to dry. Do not expose in direct sunlight. Keep the paper away from fumes to avoid immediate reaction. A low temperature drying oven works best. To save time, place the paper on an oven-plate and heat for one minute. Place the paper in an airtight container. You can use the paper for testing by following Procedure B. B. Testing for ozone 1. Spray the strip with distilled water and hang it, or tape it, or tape it at a place out of direct sunlight for about eight hours. 2. Discuss with the class places that might be tested. Sites to consider would be: a corn field, a welding shop; a room where copiers or computers are being used; a parking garage; a schools mechanical room; near a heavily traveled street or highway; in a forested area, classroom, home, or yard. NOTE: Record results immediately after removing from the test sites. If you cannot do this, keep the papers in an airtight container and out of direct sunlight. 3. Collect the strips after eight hours and seal them in a plastic bag until the results are read. 4. To read the strips, match their color to either one of the two scales shown below. Choose the one that best matches student results. Record the Schnbein numbers.

Name: Grade/Section: Activity 38

Date: Score:

1. Did you observe any changes to the testing paper? If so, what causes the blue color of the paper?

2. Compare your results with those of your classmates. Do their results differ? Discuss the differences

3. Which sites tested by your classmates yielded the highest values and lowest values? Offer an explanation for those results.

4. If an outdoor location shows high ozone readings, examine the leaves of plants nearby. Do they show any yellowing, spotting or damage?

5. Were any of the ozone concentrations collected by your class cause for concern because they are high?

6. Ground level ozone pollution is caused by human activities. Make a list of such activities.