Archive for May 2002

Analyzing Bleach in a Redox Titration

May 28, 2002

I. Purpose
The purpose of this lab was to use redox titration to determine the strength of a household bleaching solution and, thus, gain experience with analytical procedures and expand our knowledge of redox reactions and titration calculations. We accomplished this by…

II. Procedure
1. Fill one berel pipet with bleach (sodium hypochlorite solution) and one with sodium thiosulfate. Weigh and record the mass of each. (Each solution has a density of 1 g/mL.)
2. Place seven drops of bleach into a 50 mL Erlenmeyer flask. Reweigh and record the mass of the bleach pipet. Calculate the mass and volume (mL) of bleach used. Record these values.
3. Add 14 drops of 1M KI solution to the bleach. Then add 7 drops of 6M HCl to the bleach and mix it thoroughly by swirling. The resulting solution will be dark brown with some particles of matter.
4. Add drops of sodium thiosulfate to the bleach until the dark color lightens to amber. Then add 2 or 3 drops of starch indicator; the presence of iodine will make the solution dark blue. Continue adding sodium thiosulfate one drop at a time until the solution becomes colorless. Reweigh and record the mass of the sodium thiosulfate pipet. Calculate the mass and volume (mL) of sodium thiosulfate used. Record these values.
5. Repeat the titration for a second sample.

III. Observations
In the beginning solution (bleach and KI), brown chunks precipitated. As sodium thiosulfate (Na2S2O3) was added, the brown color changed to a lighter amber hue. The starch indicator created an ugly forest green color. The solution turned clear after 1-2 drops of sodium thiosulfate were added.
IV. Equations and Chemical Formulas
Cl2 + 2OH-1 (aq) -> ClO-1 + Cl-1 + H2O
ClO-1 (aq) + 2I-1 (aq) + 2H+1 (aq) -> I2 (aq) + Cl-1 (aq) + H2O
OX: 2I-1 -> I20 + 2e-
RED: Cl+1 + 2e- -> Cl-1

I2 (aq) + 2S2O3-2 (aq) -> 2I-1 (aq) + S4O6-2 (aq)

Mol = Volume (L) * Molarity (M)
Mol of Na2S2O3 Solution: L Na2S2O3 * Molarity Na2S2O3
Molarity of Na2S2O3 Solution: Moles of Na2S2O3 / 1 L
Molarity of Na2S2O3 Solution: 0.55M
Sodium Thiosulfate / Bleach Mole Ratio: 2 Na2S2O3 / 1 NaClO
Average Molarity of NaClO: ½(Trial 1 Molarity + Trial 2 Molarity)
Mass (g) of NaClO in Bleach Sample: Mol NaClO * Molar Mass NaClO
Mass % of NaClO in Bleach Sample: 100 * (Mass NaClO in Bleach Sample / Mass of Bleach Sample Used)
Average Mass % of NaClO: ½ (Trial 1 Mass % + Trial 2 Mass %)
Molar Mass of NaClO: 74.5g/mol
Density of Na2S2O3 Solution and of Bleach Solution: 1 g/mL
1 L: 1000 mL

V. Data and Calculations
Category Trial 1 Trial 2
Initial Mass (g) of Bleach Pipet 3.48g 4.11g
Mass (g) of Bleach Pipet After Using 7 Drops 3.19g 3.86g
Initial Mass (g) of Sodium Thiosulfate Pipet 3.57g 3.75g
Mass (g) of Sodium Pipet After Titration 2.78g 2.95g

Category Trial 1 Trial 2
Mass (g) of Bleach Used in Titration 0.29g
(3.48g – 3.19g) 0.25g
(4.11g – 3.86g)
Volume (mL) of Bleach Used in Titration 0.29mL
(1g/mL) 0.25mL
Mass of Na2S2O3 Solution Used in Titration 0.79g
(3.57g – 2.78g) 0.8g
(3.75g – 2.95g)
Volume (mL) of Na2S2O3 Solution Used in Titration 0.79mL
(1g/mL) 0.8mL
Moles of Na2S2O3 0.0004345 mol
(0.55M * 0.00079L) 0.00044 mol
(0.55M * 0.0008L)
Moles of NaClO 0.0002173
(0.0004345 mol / 2) 0.00022 mol
(0.00044 mol / 2)
Molarity of NaClO (Bleach Solution) 0.7491379M
(0.0002173 mol / 0.00029L) 0.88M
(0.00022 mol / 0.00025L)
Average Molarity of NaClO 0.814569M
0.7491379M +0.88M
Mass (g) of NaClO in Bleach Sample 0.16185g
(0.0002173 mol * 74.5g/mol) 0.01639g
(0.00022 mol * 74.5g/mol)
Mass % of NaClO in Bleach Sample 5.58%
100(0.16185g / 0.255g) 6.56%
100(0.01639g / 0.25g)
Average Mass % of NaClO 6.07%
0.5(5.58% + 6.56%)

VI. Summary
In this lab, we learned how to determine the strength of a household bleaching solution through redox titration. It was a most excellent experiment; if I knew what the mass % of the solution has to do with its relative strength, I would be able to make many housewives happy. Nevertheless, I am pleased that I gained experience in the laboratory.
This lab was performed successfully. This was the first time we did a lab with the same team that we had the lab before it. It was a pleasant experience, but it didn’t change much. We still got the lab done.
I feel a little remorse about finishing this lab report, because it is my last. Yet this also pleases me. I have worked hard this year and suffered more than my share of bad luck. Here’s hoping that I can get some good luck in time for this final.
Mr. Mylin, I think Katie will set the state record next year and sectionals, but that’s just a guess on my part. She works hard. She likes running. Ask her about her English Final Project. It was really cool.

Lord of the Flies: The Musical

May 27, 2002

Of the books we read in English class this year, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, affected me the most. It did not affect me as much this year, however, as it did when I read it in eighth grade. The book completely changed my outlook on humanity.

When I first picked up the book, I was a naïve and impressionable youth attending a Catholic school where the graduating class had known each other for years and all hated each other. If I had any fault, it was trusting people too much; I expected everyone to be naturally inclined towards good because God created them. They continually proved me wrong.

Lord of the Flies was a revelation to me. It was the first truly realistic book I had ever read. Fantasies are nice, but if the people in a fantasy are not people, then everything falls apart; Lord of the Flies gave me a world where the characters truly human. It also helped me to realize that though people are essentially good because of their creation, they are not inclined to good; rather, when left to their own devices, people almost always resort to chaos and destruction. Man can completely trust God, but he cannot completely trust humanity.

The realism (and even cynicism) that pervade Lord of the Flies inspired my final project: Lord of the Flies as a musical. Since musicals are inclined towards happiness and fantasy, I thought it would be interesting to combine the two. Unfortunately, the time limits of my presentation prevented me from writing the entire story, so I settled with a summarization of the beginning of the book. I still consider the project satisfactory.

Note: I performed this during our English final presentations with a piano, then a couple more times by request at parties.

Lord of the Flies: A Musical Adventure
Demo Lyrics

1. The Lord of the Flies (I Love it When You Call Me Big Poppa)
(Wicked crashing dissonant chords on a heavy beat accompanied by a rap)
Lord of the Flies
Long, long, long have I waited for this
Mankind has betrayed the world to me with a kiss

The Cold War gets hot from the East to the West
And JFK goes down with a steak knife in his chest
Fat Man goes to Moscow, spills the blood of the masses
Little Boy burns Buckingham Palace to ashes

The people think they know what they want
They think that they wanna be free
But if they wanna get what they want
They gotta sell their souls to me

And now the British think they’re gonna save their boys
But all they’re doin’s givin’ me a few more toys.
I’ll kill their pilot, crash their plane into the ground
And it’ll be a month before they are found.
They’ll try to work together under Daddy’s rules
But what they don’t know is that their daddies are fools
They’ll turn on each other and make themselves bleed
And before it’s all over they’ll be worshiping me.

The people think they know what they want
They think that they wanna be free
But if they wanna get what they want
They gotta sell their souls to me

2. The Sound of the Shell (Meeting #1)
(Collegial, swinging tune, like Toy Story’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”)
I don’t know any of you
But I know that we’re gonna be rescued
Because my dad’s in the Navy
And he’s gonna save me
And we could be back home in a week or two, but
Until then, we better become friends, ‘cause
With all of us here
We’ve got nothin’ to fear, so
My name’s Ralph
Nothing rhymes with Ralph…
But, let’s go in a circle and introduce ourselves

My name’s Jack
I’m the head of the pack, and
These are my choirboys:
Maurice Robert Harold Henry Bill and then there are

(Stamping both hands on the piano indiscriminately)

(Light, high chords fading out)
My name-
My name is-
My name is Simon! Simon! Simon! Simon! Si…
(Short dissonant chords as he falls down)

What a weirdo. Well buddy, now it’s your turn.

(Goofy, awkward melody)
Hi, my name is Piggy
But please don’t call me Piggy
My real name is- (piano interrupts him)

I am very smart
But I can’t do work
On account of my-

(Piano gets noisy)
Please stop talking!
I am speaking!

Hey, Ralph! Let’s make the conch
Like raising hands in school!
So I can talk, yeah that would be
Really, really cool!

Ok, that works.


(Goofy, awkward melody)
Now, who
Among the grownups knows our current location?
As they
Only know of our final destination!
And why-
Sorry. That was on account of my asthma.

Sucks to your ass-mar!

(The next section has dueling call and response choruses like in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Piggy has the high chord, Jack the low.)
I’ve got the conch!

Sucks to your ass-mar!

I’ve got the conch!

Sucks to your-





Conch! Ass-mar-assconchassmarconch…

Hey! Shut up!
Seems like we ought to have a chief to decide things. Who wants it?


And why you?

If I am elected Chief
I will make sure we get some beef
And if there are no cows around
We’ll taste the meat that can be found


(Piano taps high C Sharp in rhythm with the lyrics)
I can sing C Sharp!
I can sing C Sharp!
I’m a pimp ‘cause I can hit
That blasted note, C Sharp!

Ceeeeeeee Shaaaaarp!
Ceeeeeeee Shaaaaarp!

…Right. So, who wants Jack to be Chief?
(Quiet chords)
Who wants me to be chief?
(Loud chords)
Well then, I guess I’m chief.

3. The Island
Well, my first act as chief is to get a team together to climb that mountain. We need to scout this place out. See what it is, what we can do on it. It’ll be me, Jack, and Simon.

I want to go-


Well, let’s see what’s here.

Wacco! Wizard! Smashing!

(Lovely, idyllic with rising and falling melodies accompany their climb up the mountain.)

(Call and response)
This will be a good island

This will be a good island

We can build a signal fire here

We can build a smashing fortress there

We can eat fruit anytime

We can go hunting anytime

We can build some shelters if it rains

We can wait for pigs to run past here

Oh, this can be
A very grand place
Like the Coral Island
Or the Swallows and the Amazons!

Wacco! Wizard! Smashing!

(Frantic operatic music getting more dissonant as he continues)
Oh my God, it’s a pig!
What shall I do? What shall I do?
Oh my God, it’s running away!
What shall I do? What shall I do?
I’ll rip its guts out next time!
That’s what I’ll do! That’s what I’ll do!
I’ll kill every pig that crosses my path!
That’s what I’ll do! That’s what I’ll do!

4. Interlude
(The wicked dissonant and percussive beat returns)
Lord of the Flies
So you think you can stop me?
So you think you can chug along?
Your conches and your chiefs and your boys with sticks
Ain’t gonna mean nothin’ ‘gainst my bag of tricks!
You’ll see a ship and you’ll think I’ve been fair
But how they gonna see you if your fire’s not there?
Your hunters are gonna go out of control
Then I’ll drink your fire and I’ll eat your soul!
Long, long, long have I waited for this
Give it up Ralph, lean over and give me a kiss.

King George III: Insane, Ill, or Belligerent?

May 1, 2002

King George III was one of the most influential kings in English history. He ruled England for sixty years, through the American, French, and Industrial Revolutions. Unfortunately, he was debilitated later in his reign and died after a long struggle with an unknown condition. Some, especially the English people at the time, questioned whether George had succumbed to illness, insanity, or simply belligerency. In his biography George III, Christopher Hibbert argues the king was lucid through the American Revolution, but physical illness adversely affected his mental health during the French Revolution and also after 1811.

King George was a belligerent youth. When he took the throne in 1760 (he would hold it until his death), he showed contempt for the deceased George II’s two chief ministers, Secretary of State William Pitt (the Elder) and First Lord of the Treasury Thomas Pelham-Holles. Pitt, known as the Great Commoner for his stunning rhetoric in the House of Commons, he considered “the blackest of hearts”, “a true snake in the grass” and “the most dishonorable of men”; Pelham was “my grandfather’s knave and counselor”. George was upset with them because they did not pay any attention to the advice of his mother’s former tutor and rumored lover, John Stuart, the Earl of Bute.

George was also absorbed by The Ideal of a Patriot King, which declared that England needed a king that would save the throne from Parliament. His mother and father exhorted him to be a strong king. The Earl of Bute portrayed George’s grandfather George II as an old fool controlled by his mistresses and cabinet ministers and said Parliament was controlled by corrupt politicians who put their own interests ahead of the good of the nation. George deeply admired the Earl; when he became King, he sought to make Bute the Prime Minister and eventually succeeded after a long struggle with Pitt and Pelham. The British people came to dislike George, and Bute even moreso, but the king paid them no heed.

After the American Revolution, the king maintained good health for a few years but was soon stricken with illness. He suffered from a “pretty smart bilious attack” in the summer of 1788, believed to be gout. He recovered but relapsed in October. He complained of “very acute pain in his stomach, shooting to the back and sides and making respiration difficult and uneasy.” He was “much tormented in the night by a cramp in the muscles of his legs” and “suffered much from the rheumatism which affected all his limbs and made him lame…the pain continued all day and did not cease entirely until [strong laxatives having been administered] the bowels had been emptied” (Hibbert 257). By the end of the twenty-four hours, the king had a fever, swollen and painful feet, yellow whites of his eyes, and brown urine. He tried to write a letter to William Pitt the younger about official business but could not concentrate; he eventually concluded, “I am afraid Mr. Pitt will perceive that I am not quite in a situation to write at present” (258).

Without a doubt, George was ill, but he was oblivious to the fact and doggedly pressed on in his work. He insisted to all that would listen that he was well, but according to his friend Fanny Burney, he spoke in “a manner so uncommon, that a high fever alone could not account for it; a rapidity, a hoarseness of voice, a volubility, an earnestness – a vehemence, rather – it startled me inexpressibly” (259). During this period, he depended on the queen and disliked his doctors.

On the 5th of November, the Prince of Wales visited for dinner. As the meal progressed, George was progressively more agitated and, when the conversation turned to murder, he suddenly rose from the table and, in his rage, grabbed the prince by the collar, pulled him for his chair, and threw him against the wall. The queen was hysterical; the prince burst into tears and was saved from fainting by his sisters, who rubbed Hungary water on his forehead.

After that outburst, Sir George Baker decided the king was “under an entire alienation of mind and much more agitated than he had ever been. The pulse was very quick” (261), though Baker could not determine the exact pace. British newspapers took the story of the king’s insanity and ran with it. The doctors released conflicting stories; the Duchess of Devonshire was told “nobody [could really] get at the truth” (266). Rumors flew everywhere; one which was printed was that the king had confronted an oak tree in Windsor Great Park, shook a branch with his hand, and conversed with it, believing it to be the king of Prussia. The Duchess of Devonshire wrote in her diary:

The King shew’d his backside to his attendants saying that he had not the gout. He pulled off Sir George Baker’s wig and made him go upon his knees to look at the stars; he begins by beating the palms of his hands, then crying and then howling; he got naked out of bed but C[olonel] Digby threaten’d him back (267).

Rumors aside, the King was truly in terrible shape. He ate little and “refused all medicine, throwing what he could away” (269). At night, pages had to sit on him to keep him down and tie him to his bed. He swore and uttered strange indecencies; he begged his attendants to “end his pathetic life.” He alternated between deep depression and spasms of childish mischievousness. Doctors suggested that he would never recover.

The country of England, however, was in need of a leader. The Prince of Wales desired for George to be declared insane so the prince could take the regency for himself. Pitt crafted a Regency Bill giving power to the prince, but it gave him restricted power. The bill passed the House of commons, but before the House of Lords could approve it, the Lord Chancellor of England returned with news that the king was quite in control of his mental faculties. Under the care of the Doctors Willis, the king had recovered. By May 21st, he appeared much better; Sir William Grant described him as “extremely well, stout, and upright” at a Privy Council meeting that day (318). Thomas Willis, however, felt him “not so right as he should be” (319).

He was well for a period of years, but at the beginning of 1804, he relapsed. He continued to struggle with his condition, and by 1811 he was again having delusions. He sometimes appeared to believe that the deceased Princess Amelia was alive and happily married, living in Hanover where she would “never grow older and always be well” (400), and tried to comfort one of his doctors whose wife died with news that his wife was perfectly fine and was staying with Amelia in Germany. In mid-July 1811, he became violent again; by October, he was often uncontrollable; on the 20th of that month, Princess Elizabeth reported “a great deal of violent action in stamping with his feet on the floor” (402). He rambled constantly and refused food. Later, he was more docile and retreated into his own fantasy world; when the queen visited him, he rarely acknowledged that he knew her. When the queen died in 1818, the deaf and blind king was never aware of it. He lingered on with his delusions, even fearing that God was punishing the world and decreeing another flood. Some days he believed himself dead and was eerily happy about it; he occasionally mourned George III’s memory, “for he was a good man” (407). He also liked to believe in his own supernatural powers; he sometimes cursed his doctors to hell. George finally died January 29, 1820.

So the king was ill, belligerent, and finally insane, and recent medical evidence has proven that the three conditions were connected. The psychiatrists and historians Drs. Ida Macalpine and Richard Hunter diagnosed him with porphyria, endemic in the Stuarts and passed to the Hanoverians by Electress Sophia, granddaughter of James I and mother of George I. The disease causes “abdominal pain, discolored urine, weakness of the limbs, neuritis, and mental derangement leading to rambling speech, hallucinations, and symptoms of hysteria, paranoia, and schizophrenia which a layman might loosely term madness” (267). A few historians and porphyria experts have dissented with his opinion, but most historians put stock in it.

According to Macalpine, Hunter, and the historical community, then, those who say losing the American Revolution drove King George to insanity are incorrect; the true fault was really his poisoned genes. The king was not to blame for the problems he caused in the later part of his reign; his demons were beyond his control.