Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Investigating Food Dyes in Sports Beverages


There are many different brands of beverages that fall under the general category of “sports drinks.” Most of these beverages contain an FD&C food dye to color the beverage. There are a few options available to determine how much food dye is contained in a sports drink. A common, and very accurate, test method involves using an instrument called a spectrophotometer.

In brief, a spectrophotometer projects light through a small sample of a colored solution. The molecules in the solution allow some, but not all, of the wavelengths of light to pass through the sample and reach the spectrophotometer’s detector. By carefully analyzing what happens to light as it passes through a sample of liquid, a great deal can be learned about some of the molecules in the liquid.


The objective of this investigation is to determine the concentration of an FD&C food dye in a sports beverage. You will use a Vernier SpectroVis Plus spectrophotometer to conduct your tests.

How do I run the AP Chemistry food dye lab with a Colorimeter instead of a Spectrometer?

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Vernier Chemistry Investigations for Use with AP* Chemistry

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Investigating Food Dyes in Sports Beverages
2Determining the Copper Content in Brass
3Investigating Water Hardness
4The Acidity of Juice and Soft Drinks
5Separating Molecules
6Identifying an Unknown Substance
7Investigating the Purity of a Mixture
8Determining the Percent Peroxide in a Commercial Product
9Investigating the Components of a Commercial Tablet
10The Effect of Acid Rain on a Marble Structure
11Investigating the Kinetics of a Crystal Violet Reaction
12Investigating Commercial Hand Warmers
13Investigating LeChatelier’s Principle
14Investigating Acid-Base Titrations
15The Buffering Ability of Commercial Products
16Testing the Effectiveness of a Buffer

Experiment 1 from Vernier Chemistry Investigations for Use with AP* Chemistry Lab Book

<i>Vernier Chemistry Investigations for Use with AP* Chemistry</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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