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Five different absorbents will be made to clean up oil
and see which creation works the best. The controlled
variables will be the amount of oil that will be used each
time the experiment is tested. The experiment will be
performed on a hard, flat surface outdoors and the surface
will be a flat tray or pan that keeps the oil in the same area.
The same amount of oil will be used on a flat surface to see
if the absorbents can clean it up. The observation will be
which absorbent works the best to absorb the oil. Each
absorbent will be tested three times to make sure that the
results stay consistent. Topics to research will be the types
of materials and how the materials work when cleaning up
oil. The internet will be used to do most of the research.
Finding out if the absorbents used in the experiment really
do work to clean up oil will be interesting.
This experiment is about making homemade
absorbents to clean up oil and see if they work. The oil will
be put into a flat pan and then cleaned up by the absorbents.
Five different absorbents will be made to clean up the oil.
The independent variable will be the absorbents that are
being made for this experiment. The dependent variable
will be how much oil is absorbed or cleaned up by the
absorbents. The controlled variable will be the amount of
oil used each time the experiment is tested. At least one of
the absorbents will do very well when trying to clean up the
oil. This will prove that something simple can be made to
clean up oil.
 Independent Variable
o Absorbents
 Kitty litter
 Powdered laundry detergent
 Salt
 Flower
 Paper towels
 Dependent Variable
o How much oil is absorbed
 Controlled Variable
o Amount of oil
 Oil
 Absorbents
o Kitty litter
o Powdered laundry detergent
o Salt
o Flour
o Paper towels
 Oil pan
 25 ml measuring cup
 Notebook
 Pencil
1. Measure 25 ml of oil.
2. Put the oil in the pan.
3. Place or dump an absorbent on the oil.
4. Test each absorbent 3 times.
5. Measure the oil again after testing in milliliters.
6. Subtract the 25 ml from the new measurement of oil
left to get how many milliliters that the absorbent
soaked up.
7. Record how much oil was absorbed.
8. Repeat steps 1-7 until all absorbents are used.
The results supported the hypothesis very well
because the hypothesis was that the absorbents being used
would work very well to clean up the oil and all of the
absorbents used did that. All of the measurements of the
other tested variables were within about 5mL of each other.
The powdered laundry detergent absorbed the most. It
absorbed 25mL out of 25mL of oil. Not a drop of oil was
left. The kitty litter absorbed 24mL which was also a good
result. The paper towels also did well by absorbing 23mL
of oil. The flour then absorbed 20mL out of the 25mL of
oil. The salt which absorbed the least absorbed 19 out of
25mL of oil. The powdered laundry detergent worked the
best out of the five absorbents and the salt worked the
worst. Some of the observations that were made were very
similar. Nothing bad happened to affect the outcome of the
experiment. The powdered laundry detergent and the kitty
litter cleaned up the oil very effectively and very quickly.
The salt absorbed a fair amount of oil but there was still oil
that was easily visible. The flour was the most interesting
because when it absorbed the oil it became very sticky, and
became a jelly like substance that left a little oil behind.
The paper towels were very effective with pressure being
applied to the oil. Most of the trials were the same and
almost the same results occurred each time the absorbents
were tested. No unplanned variables affected the
experiment. No problems occurred but minor changes were
made. Instead of measuring the absorbents in grams on a
triple beam balance before and after testing the absorbent it
was changed so that 25mL of oil was used each time and
then checked how much oil was left in milliliters after the
experiment to see how much oil was absorbed.
Table 1 Amount of Oil Absorbed
Absorbents
Kitty Litter
Powdered Laundry
Detergent
Salt
Flour
Paper Towels
Trial Trial Trial Average
1
2
3
(mL)
24
24
24
24
25
20
22
23
25
22
19
23
25
15
21
24
25
19
20
23
Which Homemade Absorbent Works Best to
Clean Up Oil?
30
25
24 24 24 24
25 25 25 25
22
23 23
22
20
19
20
21
19
24
23
20
15
mL 15
Trial 1
Trial 2
Trial 3
10
Average
5
0
Kitty Litter
Powdered
Laundry
Detergent
Salt
Absorbents
Figure 1 Amount of Oil Absorbed
Flour
Paper Towels
Which Homemade Absorbent Works Best to Clean
Up Oil?
23
24
23
23
Paper Towels
20
21
19
22
Absorbents
Flour
19
15
Salt
Average
22
Trial 3
20
Trial 2
Trial 1
25
25
25
25
Powdered Laundry
Detergent
24
24
24
24
Kitty Litter
0
5
10
15
mL
Figure 2 Amount of Oil Absorbed
20
25
30
The hypothesis stated that one or more of the
absorbents would do very well to clean up oil and all of the
absorbents worked very well in the experiment. The
hypothesis supported the data because a lot of the
absorbents did very well to clean the oil up. The data
supported the hypothesis because the hypothesis was that
most of the absorbents would work very well to absorb the
oil, and about every time they did absorb most of the oil.
These results occurred because all the absorbents were
researched and known to be able to absorb fluids. The
powdered laundry detergent absorbed more oil than any
other absorbent and the salt absorbed the least amount of
oil out of all of the absorbents. The materials were also in a
confined space so they couldn’t spread, that way the
powders could be sprinkled over all of the oil. If someone
ever spills oil there is usually a household item that cleans
up small spills very well. If there is ever a small oil spill
anywhere within a building or out of a building there are
some very effective household items that would work to
clean up the oil spill. The best choice to clean up the oil
would be the powdered laundry detergent. If this
experiment was done again more oil would be used to
really see how well the absorbents work and to see if
different absorbent work better when dealing with more oil.
The only changes made were the measuring system. Instead
of measuring the mass in grams the oil was measured in
milliliters before and after the experiment. The results
really supported the hypothesis and the experiment proves
that everyday items will work to clean up a small oil spill.
7-O
Colby Geisinger
Keegan Fouse
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