Variables/controls in electrolyte challenge

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Variables/controls in electrolyte challenge

Postby amyc » Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:43 pm

Posting on behalf of a student:

So could a control group be the water since it has no electrolytes. Then the independent variable could be how much of the cup is filled with either orange juice or sports drink. Or would it be how many electrolytes are in each drink. Then can the control group be the cup filled with water again or,something else.

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Re: Variables/controls in electrolyte challenge

Postby kgudger » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:50 am


You have a good question about the controls needed for this project. Here is a good explanation of variables from the Science Buddies website: ... bles.shtml

In this experiment, your independent variable is the sports drink or orange juice that you use for testing. The dependent variable is the conductivity reading that you measure. You are correct, one control that you can use to verify that your conductivity meter is working properly is the water. If your local tap water has a high conductivity, you could use distilled water as this should have a very low conductivity.

For a positive control, you could use sterile saline from the pharmacy, which contains 150 mM sodium chloride, or you could weigh different concentrations of table salt (sodium chloride) and dissolve it in distilled water.

The following website includes a standard operating procedure for calibrating a conductivity meter and a recipe for making official conductivity standard using potassium chloride.

Please note that it is important to making all of your conductivity measurements with samples that are at the same temperature. I recommend using a thermometer that measures degrees Centigrade and record the temperature of your samples to verify that temperature is one of your controlled parameters.

I hope this helps. Please post again if you have any questions.

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