Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Observing the Reaction Kinetics of Sucrose with Polarimetry


Polarimeters can be used in kinetics experiments to follow the change in concentration of an optically active sample as a reaction proceeds. Sugars are common examples of optically active compounds. Sucrose is a disaccharide that can be broken down into its two substituent monosaccharides, glucose and fructose.

This process occurs too slowly in water to be monitored on any real time scale, so a catalyst, acid or enzyme, must be added to accelerate the reaction rate. In this experiment, hydrochloric acid is used to catalyze the reaction while its rate is monitored using a polarimeter. The experiment will be repeated using the enzyme invertase to catalyze the reaction.


In this experiment, you will

  • Calculate the specific rotation of sucrose using a Polarimeter.
  • Observe the cleavage kinetics of sucrose with an acid catalyst, hydrochloric acid.
  • Observe the cleavage kinetics of sucrose with an enzyme catalyst, invertase.
  • Calculate the rate constant for each run from the rotational readings.

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?

Experiment 15 from Organic Chemistry with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Organic Chemistry with Vernier</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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