Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Conducting Solutions

Figure from experiment 5 from Biology with Vernier


In this experiment, you will study the electrical conductivity of water and various water solutions. A solution can contain molecules, ions, or both. Some substances, such as sucrose (C12H22O11) and glucose (C6H12O6), dissolve to give a solution containing mostly molecules. An equation representing the dissolving of sucrose (table sugar) in water is:

{{\text{C}}_{{\text{12}}}}{{\text{H}}_{{\text{22}}}}{{\text{O}}_{{\text{11}}}}{\text{(s)}} \leftrightarrow {{\text{C}}_{{\text{12}}}}{{\text{H}}_{{\text{22}}}}{{\text{O}}_{{\text{11}}}}{\text{(aq)}}

where (s) refers to a solid substance and (aq) refers to a substance dissolved in water. Other substances, such as calcium chloride (CaCl2), dissolve in water to produce a solution containing mostly ions. An equation is:

{\text{CaC}}{{\text{l}}_{\text{2}}}{\text{(s) }} \leftrightarrow {\text{ C}}{{\text{a}}^{{\text{2 + }}}}{\text{(aq) + 2C}}{{\text{l}}^{\text{ - }}}{\text{(aq)}}

Calcium ions are necessary for muscle contraction, mitochondrial activity, bone formation, and many other metabolic processes. Organisms may obtain minerals such as calcium from their water supply, since ions dissolve in water.

You will determine conductivity of the solutions using a computer-interfaced Conductivity Probe. The unit of conductivity in this experiment is microsiemens per centimeter, or ┬ÁS/cm.


In this experiment, you will

  • Write equations for the dissolving of substances in water.
  • Use a Conductivity Probe to test the electrical conductivity of solutions.
  • Determine whether molecules or ions are responsible for electrical conductivity of solutions.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Additional Requirements

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

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Biology with Vernier »

Biology with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Energy in Food
2Limitations on Cell Size: Surface Area to Volume
3Acids and Bases
4Diffusion through Membranes
5Conducting Solutions
6AEnzyme Action: Testing Catalase Activity
6BEnzyme Action: Testing Catalase Activity
8The Effect of Alcohol on Biological Membranes
9Biological Membranes
11ACell Respiration (O2)
11BCell Respiration (CO2)
11CCell Respiration (Pressure)
11DCell Respiration (CO2 and O2)
12ARespiration of Sugars by Yeast
12BSugar Fermentation
13Population Dynamics
14Interdependence of Plants and Animals
15Biodiversity and Ecosystems
16AEffect of Temperature on Respiration
16BEffect of Temperature on Fermentation
17Aerobic Respiration
18Acid Rain
19Dissolved Oxygen in Water
20Watershed Testing
21Physical Profile of a Lake
23AEffect of Temperature on Cold-Blooded Organisms
23BEffect of Temperature on Cold-Blooded Organisms
24ALactase Action
24BLactase Action
25Primary Productivity
26Control of Human Respiration
27Heart Rate and Physical Fitness
28Monitoring EKG
29Ventilation and Heart Rate
30Oxygen Gas and Human Respiration
31APhotosynthesis and Respiration (O2)
31BPhotosynthesis and Respiration (CO2)
31CPhotosynthesis and Respiration (CO2 and O2)

Experiment 5 from Biology with Vernier Lab Book

<em>Biology with Vernier</em> 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.

Buy the Book

Dev Reference: VST0041

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