The Effect of Gasoline Fumes on Plants

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The Effect of Gasoline Fumes on plants

This science fair project was conducted to study the effect of gasoline fumes on plants. The testing was done by placing plants beside a gasoline-filled container for different periods of time and temperatures.

Gasoline fumes cause plants to die - the longer the exposure to the fumes, the quicker the plants will die. Our second hypothesis is that exposure to fumes, at higher environmental temperatures, will result in quicker death.

Gasoline is obtained from petroleum in oil refineries, and used as fuel in combustion engines. It is made of over 250 types of hydrocarbons. Aromatic hydrocarbons like toluene and benzene are used to increase the octane rating of gasoline. Other additives are also added to improve engine performance and reduce the emission of harmful gasses formed as byproducts of the combustion process.

Some hydrocarbons found in gasoline like benzene are carcinogenic. These hydrocarbons escape into the air around us while we are refilling petrol at a gas station. They also leak from our petrol tanks and the engine exhaust. About 30% to 50% of the hydrocarbons emitted into our atmosphere are released from vehicles.

The formation of ozone occurs when hydrocarbons react with nitrogen oxides or carbon monoxides in the presence of heat and sunlight. The ozone layer protects our planet from ultraviolet rays. However, the ozone found at ground level causes respiratory problems. It also damages plants, reduces farm yields and affects plant health.

The materials required for this science fair project:
- 4 potted plants of the same size
- 4 transparent aquariums
- 4 ceramic bowls
- 1 liter of gasoline
- a thermometer
- 1 black marker pen

1. For this science fair project, the independent variable is the environmental temperature and the length of exposure time. The dependent variable is the color of the leaves and the survivability of the...
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