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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Reaction Rates and Catalysts in Ethanol Production

Lesson Description:
Students will have the opportunity to investigate alternative catalysts for the degradation of hydrogen peroxide, which will be used as a model system for the breaking down of cellulose into sugar. after identifying other potential catalysts, students will develop their own research question about catalysts and conduct an additional experiment of their own design to investigate their question.
Sustainability Topic:
  • Other

Time Needed:
5 45 minute class periods
Standards Addressed:
National standards: 9-12
-sec-a: 1.b. design and conduct scientific investigations.
-sec-b: 3.d. a large number of important reactions involve the transfer of electrons or hydrogen ions. in other reactions, chemical bonds are broken by heat or light to form very reactive radicals with electrons ready to form new bonds. radical reactions control many processes such as the presence of ozone and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, burning and processing of fossil fuels, the formation of polymers, and explosions.
-sec-e: 2.c. creativity, imagination, and a good knowledge base are required in science and engineering.
-sec-e: 2.d. science and technology are pursued for different purposes. scientific inquiry is driven by the desire to understand the natural world, and technological design by the need to meet human need and solve human problems.
Materials Needed:
-three percent hydrogen peroxide
-microwell plates
-manganese dioxide
-a variety of other possible catalysts (
School or Group:
U.s Department of Energy
Contact Email:
Located in: Science

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