Milk & Food Coloring Lab Report (Importance of Surfactant) Essay

965 Words Apr 4th, 2013 4 Pages
Importance of Surfactant
Introduction
Surfactant is an essential component for the respiratory system to function properly. Knowing the physiology of surfactant in the alveoli is important to know when learning the structure of the air sacs and how they work. This experiment is designed to make the understanding of surfactant in the alveolar film easier to learn, because it's not very simple. Surfactant is a detergent-like substance produced by the Type II alveolar cells in the walls of the alveoli. Surfactant is produced to reduce the surface tension of the water molecules that primarily compose the walls of the alveoli. For this experiment, we will be using milk and food coloring to represent the water (milk) and gas (food coloring) in
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After adding the drops of liquid soap, the food coloring droplets rapidly mixed into the milk by running in every direction. It looked like an explosion of color. The color streaks continuously span slowly in the milk.
Discussion
As my hypothesis stated, the milk and food coloring did not mix voluntarily because of their polarity. Non-polar molecules want to bond with other non-polar molecules (London dispersion forces) and polar molecules bond with the polar molecules (Dipole-Dipole forces). Think of all the milk molecules acting as very powerful magnets between each other, and the same with the water molecules. In this case, the soap –acting as the surfactant- broke the surface tension between the two liquids allowing them to mix together. In other words, it reduced the magnetic attraction between them. As we stated, the milk molecules are non-polar and the food coloring molecules are polar. Soap is one of the awesome liquids that is both polar and non-polar. Its molecules have a polar head, which attracts other polar molecules, and a non-polar body, which attracts other non-polar molecules. When the liquid soap molecules were added to the solution, they attracted both the milk and food coloring molecules causing them to mix like they did. In the alveoli, the gas is non-polar and the water in the walls of the alveoli is polar. Surface tension in the alveoli is very high

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