# Iron-ic Breakfast Cereal.

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Iron-ic Breakfast Cereal

BACKGROUND: QUESTION:
I wanted to see if the iron described on the label of a cereal box is the same kind of iron (“raw” iron) used in making nails, etc. I also decided to compare the amount of iron in different brands of breakfast cereals. Will the iron in my breakfast cereal be attracted to a magnet? QUESTION: Will the iron in my breakfast cereal be attracted to a magnet? And will the amount of iron attracted to a magnet correspond to the percentage of iron that the cereal contains?

HYPOTHESIS: I believe that the iron described on the label of a cereal box is the same kind of iron (“raw” iron) used to make nails. Therefore, because the iron in my breakfast cereal contains “raw” iron, I believe it will be attracted to a magnet. My second hypothesis is that I believe the percentage of iron on the cereal box corresponds to the amount of iron that will be attracted to the magnet. For example, if the nutrition label on the cereal box reads 50% iron, I will collect more iron from that cereal box than I will from a cereal box that reads 25% iron.

MATERIALS: Various Breakfast Cereals Cheerios Cocoa Puffs
Golden Grahams Kix Lucky Charms Rice Krispies Distilled Water Magnet Blender Plastic Spoons Clear Plastic Cups

PROCEDURES: Measure 1 cup of cereal and place it in the blender
Add 250 milliliters of distilled water to the cereal in the blender Create a mixture (slurry) by mixing the cereal and distilled water in the blender (use high blender setting) for one minute Carefully pour the mixture into a clear plastic cup Hold a magnet against the side of the plastic cup and stir the mixture with a plastic spoon for 7 minutes After 7 minutes, slowly pour the slurry from the cup while holding the magnet against the cup to retain any iron attracted to the magnet

DATA TABLE:

DATA GRAPH:

ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA:
For all of the cereals except Rice Krispies, I easily observed the raw iron being attracted to the magnet at each one of my observation intervals (1 minute, 4 minutes, and 7 minutes). At the seven-minute mark, I could see one small iron filing from the Rice Krispies slurry attracted to the magnet. Based on my observations, the cereals with 25% iron (Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs and Golden Grahams) attracted the “Most” and “Less than Most” raw iron to the magnet. The cereals with 40% or more iron (Cheerios, Kix, and Rice Krispies) produced a variety of results. The results of my observation and data analysis are not consistent with my second hypothesis. In fact, they are almost the exact opposite of what I expected.

CONCLUSION: On my first hypothesis, I have concluded that breakfast cereals do contain some “raw” iron, which is the same kind that is used in buildings, nails etc.; because the raw iron from the cereals was attracted to the magnet. On my second hypothesis, I was not able to reach a conclusion about the amount of iron attracted to the magnet and the corresponding percentage of iron contained on the nutrition label on the cereal box. My data seemed to indicate that cereals with a higher percentage of iron produced less raw iron than the other cereals. For example, Rice Krispies has 50% iron (according to its nutrition label); however, the amount of iron I collected from the Rice Krispies mixture was “Not much at all”. These results are not consistent with the research I performed. Research indicates that the higher the percentage of iron listed on the cereal box, the more raw iron should have been attracted to the magnet.

RESEARCH: Many cereal makers add iron to their cereals, because it gives you energy. If you hold a magnet up to a piece of cereal, it will not be attracted to the magnet. The cereal will not be attracted to the magnet, because there are only small pieces of raw iron in the cereal; and they exist in the cereal as part of a compound. When you break down the compound of the cereal by blending it with distilled water, it will attract the raw iron because the iron is now in its elemental form.

RESEARCH SOURCES / BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Iron in Breakfast Cereal at Becker, Robert. An Incredible Evening of Chemistry: 20 Demonstrations to Knock Your Socks Off, Flinn Scientific, Inc., 1993 Sarquis, Mickey and Jerry Sarquis. Fun with Chemistry: A Guidebook of K-12 Activities, Volume 1, Institute for Chemical Education, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 1991 Iron in Cereal - Separation