Comparison of the Effects of Increased CO2 in the Air to Seawater and Distilled Water

This well-designed experiment compares CO2 impacts on salt water and fresh water. In a short demonstration, students examine how distilled water (i.e., pure water without any dissolved ions or compounds) and seawater are affected differently by increasing carbon dioxide in the air.

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S. Soria-Dengg
Annika Sabrowski
Patrick Silva

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

This resource is part of a larger collection of indoor activities (see that explores the relationship of the chemistry, physics, and biology of carbon dioxide to climate change. Some of these activities could be combined for a unit on carbon dioxide and climate change.

If seawater is not available, mix it yourself by adding 35 grams of salt per liter of water. Extensions and variations are described in the text.