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Dehydration is a condition that almost any person can relate to. When we get too hot and don’t take in enough fluids, it’s possible to suffer from anything ranging from a headache, to disorientation, and in the most extreme cases, even death! Did you know that dehydration is something that affects a huge number of organisms, even plants? With this simple experiment we will look at the effects of dehydration on an uncooked potato.

 

Here’s What You Will Need

  • One potato. It’s best to use smaller potatoes as this will reduce the time it takes to complete the experiment. The experiment generally takes up to one hour.
  • Two dishes or small plastic containers.
  • A knife and a kitchen cutting board.
  • Any type of salt used for cooking.
  • Fresh water.
  • Paper and a pencil or permanent marker.

 

Carrying Out the Experiment

Write ‘Salt Water’ on a piece of paper, and place this under one of the dishes or containers.

Pour the same amount of fresh water into each dish or container. You will be placing the potato in the water, but it does not need to be submerged. Less than about 1/2 an inch of water is enough for this experiment.

In the ‘Salt Water’ dish, add two tablespoons of salt. If you don’t have a measuring device, just add two heaping dinner spoons of salt to the water and stir to dissolve.

Now cut the potato in half as close to the middle as you can.  Lengthwise or the other way is just fine, then place one half into each dish or container, with the sliced side facing down.

Now it’s time to wait. Leave the potato slices for up to one hour, after which you will be able to note the effects of dehydration.

 

Results of the Experiment

What do you think will happen to the potato slices? After one hour, there will be a clear difference between each potato. The potato bathing in regular water should be mostly unchanged. However, the potato in the salt water will be shriveled and dehydrated. Salt works by pulling moisture out of the potato. If you were to use different additives in the water, you would observe different results. Try experimenting with other non toxic household ingredients and note the different effects.

This is also a good example of what happens in the Osmosis process, if you want to understand why it works in this experiment.

Here is a graphic that will help explain that as well ..

Difference Between Osmosis and Reverse Osmosis. Water passing through a semi-permeable membrane

 

 

Here are some examples of dehydration kits. They don’t use the same concept as we did above, but the result after removing the water is the same …

                        
 
 
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