Painting with Chlorophyll

Overview

Chlorophyll is the green coloring in a leaf which assists in photosynthesis (how plants get their food from the sun).  It can be extracted from a leaf by placing it in a boiling bath of alcohol.

Chemicals

Materials

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*Note: These chemicals can be purchased locally at stores such as Walmart/Target.

  • Small beaker

  • Erlenmeyer flask

  • Eye dropper

  • Nuffield spatula

  • Alcohol burner + stand + lighter

Video of the experiment!

Procedure

1. In small beaker, measure out rubbing alcohol and then pour into Erlenmeyer flask.

2. Place Erlenmeyer on stand.

3. Light alcohol lamp and heat leaf for 4 minutes.

4. Use Nuffield spatula to remove leaf. 

5. Allow green liquid to cool and suck up chlorophyll into eye dropper and use this color to make a drawing.

The Science Behind the Reaction

The heat broke down the cell walls containing the chlorophyll, allowing it to escape.

Keep Experimenting!

Red and yellow leaves still produce a green pigment but flowers produce beautiful pigments! Try out different colored flowers to get other pigments.