Academic journal article Teaching Science

Hot Chocolate

Academic journal article Teaching Science

Hot Chocolate

Article excerpt

CSIRO's Double Helix Science Club

Want to stay healthy? Don't eat your chocolate--use it to measure the speed of light! This experiment is adapted from How to Fossilise your Hamster: And other amazing experiments for the armchair scientist.

WARNING: Melted chocolate can burn. Take extra care.

You will need

* a bar of chocolate
* a ceramic plate
* a metric ruler
* a microwave oven
* pen
* paper
* calculator

What to do

1.  Look on the back of your microwave,
inside the door, or in the instruction
manual to find the frequency of your
microwave. For most microwaves this
will be 2.45GHz.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

2. Take the turntable out of your
microwave oven--the bar of
chocolate needs to be perfectly still.

3. Put the chocolate on a ceramic plate.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

4. Put the plate in the corner of the
microwave so it doesn't move while
the microwave is on.

5. Cook the chocolate on high power
until it starts to melt in two or three
spots--this usually takes about 40
seconds. You should stop after 60
seconds for safety.

6. Remove the chocolate from the
microwave and measure the distance
between neighbouring globs of
melted chocolate.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

If you can't see the globs straight
away you should be able to gently
feel where the melted spots have
formed. Be careful not to burn your
fingers!

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Now for the calculations:

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