Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chapter 2

I am slightly Mysophobic, aka. Germaphobic. So I thought it was fitting that my first Chemistry blog post would be about the physical and chemical properties of Purell hand sanitizer.
Tada! The magical substance that kills germs!

Physical Properties
  • At room temperature, the hand sanitizer is a liquid.
  • It has a high viscosity- meaning that it is a “thick” liquid (water is a "thin" liquid because it can move very fast).
  • Purell Hand Sanitizer is transparent in color.
  • Has a smell like alcohol, because alcohol is one of the main ingredients.
  • Alcohol freezes at -144* Celsius (compared to the 0* Celsius of water).
Although it is a liquid, it is thick enough that it doesn't always take the shape of it's container. You can see that it has a transparent color because the plate is blue, and the liquid looks blue too.

See how high the viscosity is? It takes forever for the hand sanitizer to move a little!

Chemical Properties
  • When I added water with the hand sanitizer, it looks like nothing happens. After a little while, the hand sanitizer will start breaking up and dissolving. This is because hand sanitizer is a liquid, not a solid.
  • When I soaked a penny in hand sanitizer after a period, the penny became cleaner and shiner. The amount of alcohol in the hand sanitizer must be high enough to get rid of dirt and grime. An effective way to clean coins!
  • Reading the drug facts on the back of the hand sanitizer, it warns that it is flammable. I was able to find an interesting video of a group of students lighting hand sanitizer.
(That I am not in.)
  • It is NOT sensitive to light. I have had hand sanitizer sitting on the kitchen island for months, and it has not changed color.
Day One:
Day Two:
  • It is extremely toxic (an experiment was not done for this one!) Due to the high alcohol levels in hand sanitizer (~60%), congesting it can be fatal to young children and pets and cause others to become drunk.
It seems that, although hand sanitizer can be very useful it can also be dangerous (flammable, toxic, etc.). I think that this product should not be used with small children, or before meals because of the alcohol levels contained.