Determining Which Composition of Shellac and Ethanol Would Give the Correct Amount of Breakdown of Four to Six Hours in Hydrochloric Acid

This experiment focuses on which of the two compositions of shellac and ethanol would provide the correct breakdown time of four to six hours when placed in hydrochloric acid. It was hypothesized that the composition with the greater amount of shellac would give the right breakdown time. Each composition used thirty test tubes, first with 1mL of hydrochloric acid, followed by a mixture of shellac using confectioner’s glaze and ethanol. One composition had 1mL of each; the other 2mL of shellac and no ethanol. Each mixture was placed on top of the hydrochloric acid and then stirred carefully for ten seconds while avoiding mixing the acid. The trials were then recorded using an iPad with a time-lapse camera for six hours. The time of the breakdown was then determined when the mixture settled to the bottom of the tube. The lower composition of shellac had an average breakdown time of 2.7 hours while the higher shellac composition had an average of 4.5 hours. A two-sample t-test that the higher and lesser compositions was conducted, and showed that the two are significantly different, as shown statistically with a p-value of nearly zero. The hypothesis that the higher concentration of shellac would give the correct breakdown of four to six hours in this experiment was thus accepted. By performing this experiment, patients awaiting fecal transplants, especially low-income patients, can avoid surgery for a lower cost, and researchers can learn how to prolong the effects of pills so that the medicine in them will avoid getting dissolved as they reach their destination.

Research Conducted By:

Madeline Manuel
Cousino High School

Matthew Schultz
Sterling Heights High School