GOLD

Your Favourite Drinks: These Results May Shock You

We tested electrolyte concentrations in different types of drinks (through conductance) , and tried to find which drink was the best for replenishing electrolytes overall.
Alex Zhang Arvind Raj
Grade 6

Hypothesis

Hypothesis:

If I test the electrolyte concentrations of different drink solutions, then I will find that Hydralyte has the highest electrical conductance out of them all, because it is doctor recommended to replenish electrolytes and fluids in adults.

Research

  •  Electrolytes are atoms that separate into ions and conduct electricity when dissolved in water (Nancy Choi M.D, Adam Felman, 2017)
  • They are essential for a number of bodily functions, such as conducting nervous impulses, contracting muscles, keeping you hydrated, and regulating your body's pH levels (U.S. National Library Of Medicine)
  • They are also essential for sweat and fluid replenishment in your body. When you exercise, you lose both water and electrolytes (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  • Energy and sports drinks are marketed to replenish this loss, but have you ever wondered how effective they are at doing so? 
  • There are other fluids that can also do better than energy and sports drinks hypothetically, such as fruit juices and oral rehydration solutions
  • You can get an idea about the number of electrolytes through electrical conductance (how easily electricity passes through a solution), and you can measure conductance with a piece of equipment called a multimeter (Science Buddies)
  • Using this process, you can investigate which liquid contains the most electrolytes (via a multimeter)

Summary Paragraph:

Electrolytes in fluids conduct electricity when dissolved in water. Whilst they are in liquid water, their atoms separate into ions. They are found in energy and sports drinks to help with conducting nervous impulses, contracting muscles, keeping you hydrated, and regulating your body's pH levels. Hypothetically other drinks such as fruit juices and oral rehydration solutions can possibly do better than sports drinks. So, we decided to test three different groups of drinks: Energy Drinks, Fruit Juices, and Oral Rehydration Solutions. To find the electrolyte content of an energy drink you can measure the electrical conductance of a solution via a multimeter. 

Advertisement Paragraph:

Gatorade advertises itself as an extraordinary energy drink that replenishes electrolytes. Gatorade makes very “cool” ads. In Monster Energy advertisements, they show many intense sports events and the athletes are all drinking Monster Energy. This is practically the same for all energy drink brands. All of these brands sponsor big sports events and pay athletes that are professionals in their fields (respectively) to do crazy things. Then they will have their brand carefully placed somewhere in the ad or video. They also commonly film a close-up of the drink, then have someone pouring it into a cup with ice.

Advertisement Examples:

Monster Energy Drink Ad - This ad has a lot of close-ups of Monster Energy

Reign Energy Drink Ad - Similar to the Monster Energy ad.

Gatorade Commercial - As I said before, athletic commercials show the drink in intense light.

Red Bull Gives You Wings Commercial - Similar to the Gatorade ad but more extreme. Shows a risk-taking skydiver.

Coca-Cola Energy Commercial - Similar to Monster Energy and the Reign energy drink ads, just with the product swapped out to Coca-Cola Energy

 

 

 

  

Variables

Responding variable: The responding variable is the electrical conductance in the different types of drinks, which is related to the amount of electrolytes.

Manipulated variable: For our experiment, the manipulated variable is the type of drink we are going to be doing the electrolyte test on.

Controlled variables: The controlled variables are: the method of the electrolyte test, the temperature of the room and drinks, the cleanliness of my hands and equipment, the day of the experiment and tests, and the quantity of the drinks.

Procedure

Materials Used for the Project:

  • A working multimeter
  • A zinc and copper electrode
  • 2 alligator clips
  • Cardboard, scissors, and tape
  • Measuring cup
  • An assortment of nine different drinks (Red Bull, Monster, Gatorade, Coca-Cola Energy, Reign, Apple Juice, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, Pedialyte, and Hydralyte)
  • One bottle of distilled water and saltwater (as negative and positive controls)
  • A clear working space, such as a countertop
  • Pen and notebook to write down the results from the electrolyte test itself.

Procedure for the Project:

  1. Acquire a multimeter.
  2. Attach the alligator clips to the multimeter
  3. Attach a copper electrode to one alligator clip and a zinc electrode to the other one.
  4. Mount each electrode 5 cm apart onto cardboard. Use tape and scissors.
  5. Take 5 energy drink cans, 3 juice bottles, and the 2 bottles of ORSs, then open them. Then take the distilled water bottle, and open that as well.
  6. Rinse 9 glasses with distilled water, then pour 250 ml of each test liquid using a measuring cup into each glass.
  7. Rinse 2 more cups with distilled water. In the first cup, pour 250 ml of distilled water (negative control). In the second cup, pour 250 ml of distilled water again, but this time add a teaspoon of salt (positive control).
  8.  Dip both electrodes of the multimeter into your negative control and note the current and voltage at 3 mins. Repeat twice more. Record the data in your notebook. 
  9.  Rinse your electrodes with distilled water before moving on to a new drink.
  10. Repeat the last two steps for the positive control and each drink left, and keep writing down your results in your notebook

Observations

Raw Data Charts:

 

Drink

Trial 1

(mV)

Trial 2

(mV)

Trial 3

(mV)

Average

(mV)

Monster Energy

0.425

0.413


 

0.371

0.403

Reign Energy

0.405

0.384

0.396

0.395

Gatorade

0.556

0.439

0.445

0.480

Red Bull

0.327

0.356

0.378

0.354

Coca-Cola Energy

0.463

0.436

0.408

0.436

Drink

Trial 1

(mA)

Trial 2

(mA)

Trial 3

(mA)

Average

(mA)

Monster Energy

0.90

1.18

1.15

1.08

Reign Energy

1.07

1.27

1.36

1.23

Gatorade

1.88

1.26

1.18

1.44

Red Bull

0.77

0.97

0.99

0.91

Coca-Cola Energy

0.70

0.92

0.91

0.84

Drink

Trial 1

(si)

Trial 2

(si)

Trial 3

(si)

Average

(si)

Monster Energy

2.12

2.86

3.10

2.69

Reign Energy

2.64

3.31

3.43

3.13

Gatorade

3.38

2.87

2.65

2.97

Red Bull

2.35

2.72

2.62

2.57

Coca-Cola Energy

1.51

2.11

2.23

1.95

Drink

Trial 1

(mV)

Trial 2

(mV)

Trial 3

(mV)

Average

(mV)

Pedialyte        (Oral Rehydration Solution For Kids)

0.724

0.719

0.711

0.718

Hydralyte       (Oral Rehydration Solution For Adults)

0.684

0.700

0.70

0.695

Drink

Trial 1

(mA)

Trial 2

(mA)

Trial 3

(mA)

Average

(mA)

Pedialyte        (Oral Rehydration Solution For Kids)

3.17

4.31

3.72

3.73

Hydralyte       (Oral Rehydration Solution For Adults)

3.56

4.31

3.56

3.81

Drink

Trial 1

(si)

Trial 2

(si)

Trial 3

(si)

Average

(si)

Pedialyte        (Oral Rehydration Solution For Kids)

4.38

5.99

5.23

5.20

Hydralyte       (Oral Rehydration Solution For Adults)

5.20

6.16

5.08

5.48

Drink

Trial 1

(mV)

Trial 2

(mV)

Trial 3

(mV)

Average

(mV)

Apple Juice:

0.606

0.555

0.669

0.610

Orange Juice:

0.552

0.450

0.601

0.534

Pineapple Juice:

0.625

0.591

0.645

0.549

Drink

Attempt 1

(mA)

Attempt 2

(mA)

Attempt 3

(mA)

Average

(mA)

Apple Juice:

1.51

1.37

1.64

1.51

Orange Juice:

1.90

1.92

1.98

1.93

Pineapple Juice:

1.60

1.72

1.48

1.60

Drink

Attempt 1

(si)

Attempt 2

(si)

Attempt 3

(si)

Average

(si)

Apple Juice:

3.44

4.27

3.29

3.67

Orange Juice:

2.49

2.47

2.45

2.47

Pineapple Juice:

2.56

2.91

2.29

2.59

Drink

Attempt 1

(mV)

Attempt 2

(mV)

Attempt 3

(mV)

Average

(mV)

Salt Water (Positive Control)

0.245

0.213

0.187

0.215

Distilled Water (Negative Control)

0.567

0.730

0.745

0.681

Drink

Attempt 1

(mA)

Attempt 2

(mA)

Attempt 3

(mA)

Average

(mA)

Salt Water (Positive Control)

2.21

2.65

2.33

2.40

Distilled Water (Negative Control)

0.01

0.05

0.07

0.04

Drink

Attempt 1

(si)

Attempt 2

(si)

Attempt 3

(si)

Average

(si)

Salt Water (Positive Control)

9.02

12.44

12.46

11.31

Distilled Water (Negative Control)

0.02

0.07

0.09

0.06

 

Graphs:

 

Analysis

 

  • The energy drink with the highest conductance, or electrolyte concentration, is Reign Energy, with 3.13 siemens (Graph 1, 2, and 3)
  • Gatorade came in second place, with 2.97 siemens (Graph 1, 2, and 3)
  • In third place came Monster Energy, with 2.69 siemens (Graph 1, 2, and 3)
  • As expected, distilled water, our negative control, had the lowest conductivity, at a very low 0.06 siemens; saltwater, our positive control, had the highest conductivity, at 11.31 siemens (Graph 1, and 2)
  • The fruit juice with the highest conductivity was apple juice, at 3.67 siemens. (Graph 1, 2, and 5)
  • Pineapple juice came in second place, with a conductivity of 2.59 siemens. (Graph 1, 2, and 5)
  • Orange juice came in the last place, with a conductivity of only 2.47 siemens. (Graph 1, 2, and 5)
  • The ORS with the highest conductance was Hydralyte, with a massive 5.48 siemens. (Graph 1, 2, and 4)
  • Pedialyte was a very close second place, having 5.20 siemens. (Graph 1, 2, and 4)
  • The ORSs beat every other drink (except for the positive control, saltwater) in a landslide. This heavily suggests that they have the highest electrolyte concentration. (Graph 1, and 2)

 

Conclusion

  • Our hypothesis was correct because Hydralyte had the highest conductance out of all of the drinks
  • Hydralyte is doctor recommended as an electrolyte replenishment solution, to rehydrate adults who have lost a lot of fluids and electrolytes (Hydralyte Commercials on TV)
  • Our findings suggest that this advertising claim is true
  • Pedialyte, an electrolyte replenishment solution marketed specifically for children, came very close to Hydralyte in its electrolyte content most likely for the fact that Pedialyte is also an ORS, so it would be naturally close in conductance
  • Energy drinks had a lesser electrolyte concentration than our ORSs
  • Fruit juices were overall about the same as energy drinks in their electrolyte concentrations
  • This suggests that although energy drinks are strongly marketed for replenishing electrolytes and fluids, they may be no better than fruit juices in their effectiveness

Application

Future Spin-Offs

  • Measuring the conductance of different mashed foods, to see which ones offer the best electrolyte supply
  • Comparing the conductance of tap water, spring water, and filtered water
  • Creating our own home version of an Oral Rehydration Solution, with similar conductance to Hydralyte

Real-Life Applications

  • Helping athletes decide which energy drinks are the best for electrolyte replacement
  • Being able to measure the electrolyte content of different drinks and foods for sports science, nutrition, and medicine. This is important for patients who are losing lots of fluids, such as burns victims or short gut disease
  • Making sure that drink companies are telling the truth!

Sources Of Error

Sources of Error are:

  Things that could have gone wrong in our experiment:

  • Incomplete rinsing with distilled water between each drink trial
  • The setting of electrolytes towards the bottom of the glasses
  • Hands not being completely clean when handling equipment
  • Too few readings, reducing accuracy

 

Suggested Improvements to our experiment are:

  • Increasing the number of trials for each test would improve the accuracy of the results, as we could do 5 or 6 trials instead of just 3
  • More fluids can be included, such as a wider variety of fruit juices, and saltwater of different concentrations
  • Multimeter recordings can be made at increasing times to see if the results become the most stable at a particular time. This would be the ideal time to take multimeter recordings for each drink
  • Adding tap or filtered water

Citations

ACSReactions. “What Do Electrolytes Actually Do?” YouTube, YouTube, 25 Apr. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhLHtuZ3VOI.

“Electrolytes: Uses, Imbalance, and Supplementation.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153188.

“Energy and Sports Drinks.” Energy and Sports Drinks | Michigan Medicine, uofmhealth.org/health-library/abo4575.

“Gatorade Commerical - Basketball- WIN FROM WITHIN.” YouTube, YouTube, 23 July 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYEyHsGqnug.

“Monster Energy Drink Ad.” YouTube, 17 Nov. 2020, youtu.be/6EoDBOEKclY.

“Reign Energy Drink Commercial.” YouTube, YouTube, 11 Nov. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRh4F4TLFBg.

Science Buddies. “How to Use a Multimeter.” Science Buddies, Science Buddies, 1 Apr. 2020, www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/references/how-to-use-a-multimeter#multimetergallery.

“What Types of Juices Are Rich in Potassium?” WebMD, WebMD, webmd.com/diet/qa/what-types-of-juices-are-rich-in-potassium.

cocacola. “Coca-Cola Energy.” YouTube, YouTube, 25 Apr. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfjFDl32zQw.

glidock. “Red Bull Gives You Wings - World of Red Bull Commercial.” YouTube, YouTube, 28 Aug. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=izbQZ0gvs-A.

themoose64, and Instructables. “Finding Electrolytes in Orange Juice and Sports Drinks.” Instructables, Instructables, 1 Nov. 2017, www.instructables.com/finding-electrolytes-in-orange-juice-and-sports-dr/.

 

 

Acknowledgement

We would like to acknowledge Dr. Daniel Roach, for his outstanding and exceptionally helpful loaning of a multimeter to our group, and for helping us understand how to use it. He is also an incredible researcher and is a great friend to us. Again, thank you so much, Dan. You are extremely helpful and are more than worth just being acknowledged. We would also like to acknowledge Mr. Baillie and Mrs. Summerscales, for their incredible help towards our group, providing guidance and knowledge wherever and whenever needed. Thank you all, ever so much.