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What is a Blue Bottle Demonstration?

The reaction of the blue bottle is a common chemistry demonstration. This experiment is used in both chemistry and general science classes in the following ways:

  1. General science: To describe the roles of study and hypothesis in the scientific method.
  2. Chemistry: In this class, a demonstration is used to explain the oxidation & reduction reactions. Students can better understand the rates of chemical reaction.

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Demonstration kit (apparatus and chemicals)

  1. 300cm3 distilled water
  2. 8g potassium hydroxide, KOH
  3. 6g sodium hydroxide, NaOH
  4. 1dm3 conical flask
  5. 10g glucose (dextrose), C6H12O6
  6. Rubber stopper for flask
  7. Ethanol, IDA (Industrial Denatured Alcohol)
  8. 2% methylene blue indicator solution

Demonstration

  1. Shake the flask strongly to dissolve air in a solution
  2. Color changes to blue and then turn colorless
  3. Times you shake the solution, longer it will consume to fade
  4. Shake multiple times
  5. The solution will convert into yellow after few hours. Now, the color does not change.

Procedure

Step 1: Put water in a conical flask and add sodium hydroxide. Mix the solution to dissolve sodium hydroxide.

Step 2: Add glucose when sodium hydroxide gets dissolved

Step 3: Put 5 drops of ethylene blue when glucose has dissolved completely and swirl it.

Step 4: Keep the flask stand until the color gradually disappears and changed to a colorless solution.

Step 5: Shake the flask for a few times and observe blue shade is restored again.

Observation

It can be described as the experiment in which an indicator is added to the alkaline solution of glucose. A colorless solution kept in the flask is shaken. On shaking the solution, its oxygen concentration gets increased. The methylene blue gradually reduced back to colorless identity when dissolved oxygen consumed.

During this whole demonstration, the solution converts into the blue color and then slowly fades and finally come back to its original state of colorless. The color appears again on shaking a flask strongly and then starts to fade again. This whole process can be repeated multiple times by shaking to better understand the concept.

Special safety tips

  • Sodium Hydroxide is corrosive in nature and can cause severe damage to the eyes. So, wear goggles for the eye protection while preparing the solution (dissolving sodium hydroxide in the water).
  • Potassium hydroxide is also irritant and corrosive so, avoid contact of the solution with the skin
  • Take proper care while using ethanol (IDA)- harmful & highly flammable and harmful Methylene blue

How Long Does It Take to Practice the Demonstration?

The blue bottle chemistry demonstration is basically a 20-25-minute experiment with around 15-20 minutes needed for preparation and 5 for an experiment.

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