What I Did at Work

So it turns out that gasoline is made up of a bunch of hydrocarbons. That means that it’s a bunch of carbon chains bonded to a bunch more hydrogens. When you put gas in your engine and it burns and turns into carbon dioxide and water in a typical combustion reaction, which comes out of your tailpipe in the form of exhaust.

At work, we collected a plastic bag full of car exhaust, and stuck it in the freezer to get all of the water to freeze out.

As a side note, to get to the freezer in the Benson, you go into a refrigerated room, which then has a door to a freezer room. There are lots of reactions and experiments being performed that require low temperature. There is a handle on the outside of the refrigerated room, but not on the inside. It just pushes open. Every time I go in there I’m afraid that the door won’t open and I’ll be stuck banging on the door and hoping some graduate student has enough mercy to let me out.

Anyways…Once we condensed the water out, we took liquid nitrogen and condensed all of the carbon dioxide into dry ice. It was really quite awesome. Gas really does turn into water and carbon dioxide–now I’ve seen it with my own two eyes.


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