As a chemical engineering major, I found this chemistry faceoff extremely amusing to translate. xD
Translated by: Taffy
Edited by: Frosty
Quiz 48: A Misstep
In the day, the fog at Scarlet Dragon Pool was clearly thicker. Zhou Lun Yu bounded halfway up the mountain, slightly short of breath, and directly entered the pier. Just as he loosened the ropes, Duan He, who’d caught up from behind, shouted at him to stop.
This time, nobody can stop me. Zhou Lun Yu didn’t even turn around, and immediately stepped on the boat. Just then, he heard Duan He say, “Hey, I called someone to bring you over.”
Thus, Zhou Lun Yu looked back.
Duan He was leading a local man down to the pier. She told Zhou Lun Yu, “I’ve already forcefully told him everything about this matter, and he’s willing to bring you across the river.” This man was currently carry some speedboat parts, as well as a motor.
“Ah,” Zhou Lun Yu didn’t have the time to say too many words of appreciation. “Hurry up and head out. Once we reach the opposite shore, you come back first. After I finish collecting the medicinal plant, come and pick me back up. I’ll call you when the time comes.”
Duan He nodded. She stood on the shore as she asked, “You’re not concerned about the forest square competition?”
Only after the motorboat’s owner had attached all the parts and started the engine did Zhou Lun Yu finally say, “If Zhuge Meng Ming loses, then he can jump into the lake and kill himself.”
The motorboat entered Scarlet Dragon Pool, flying across to the northern side.
As Duan He watched the boat leave, she thought to herself: He thinks that Meng Ming can’t possibly lose…? Suddenly, she felt a bit dizzy. Because she hadn’t slept a lot last night, and she’d been using working hard non-stop recently, she was beyond exhausted. Really, I need to go back and sleep tons. You guys can resolve the rest…
“It must be him pulling tricks!” In the forest square, Sean looked over the apparatuses with burnt labels once more. He locked his gaze downwards, and, after careful deliberation, declared, “That person opposing us is…a C-type student.”
“Then…then what do we do?!” Thomas began to panic.
“This is even better.” Sean was instead relieved. “C-type…this means that he can’t possibly produce water. His only possibility of doing so is if he steals our product!” Sean thought about it again, “As long as we take proper defense measures, everything will be completely fine.”
Sean then scanned the appearances of the test tubes, beakers, and reagent bottles on the table before asking Thomas, “Do you remember which reagent bottles are mixed together in each test tube?”
“Yes.” Thomas told Sean that he’d already finished all these procedures earlier.
“Then that’s enough!”
Sean silently examined the dozen or so chemicals on the table. Just half a minute! Within this half minute, he was able to completely grasp the entire process without writing anything down. “There’s no need for labels, I just need to use this,” Sean used his finger to tap his temple. “To remember everything! From left to right, these bottles are: silver nitrate solution, ammonium bicarbonate solution, benzene, hydrobromic acid…and…”
Even after a long while, Sean couldn’t figure out what it was. He could only say, “The other bottle…can be put aside until later.”
Sean also didn’t know that #9 was water.
As for Meng Ming’s side…
“Brother Meng Ming, what are they saying?” Huang Qiao Yi had just returned from grabbing some more apparatuses, and had vaguely heard them. Meng Ming told her that the opposite party had probably already remembered what each chemical was; there was no need to pay them any mind.
“What did Little Qiao bring over?” Meng Ming asked, looking at the new items placed on the table.
“An alcohol lamp, a large beaker, and a tripod. These are used to heat the solutions,” Huang Qiao Yi said, telling Meng Ming to pour the entire ammonium bicarbonate solution into the large beaker. This one bottle couldn’t, under any circumstances, be knocked over. “Firstly, you should heat this up. When ammonium bicarbonate decomposes, it will produce a lot of water!” Huang Qiao Yi said with certainty. As long as this step was completed, this ammonium bicarbonate solution would be able to produce about 0.5L of pure water!
Meng Ming followed Huang Qiao Yi’s words, and lit up the alcohol lamp to heat the large beaker.
At the same time, Huang Qiao Yi took another three large beakers and dumped the silver nitrate and hydrobromic acid into separate beakers. She then set up a funnel on a filtration apparatus. “When these two chemicals are mixed and filtered, the silver and bromine can be eliminated. The remaining product, nitric acid, can also be placed into the large beaker.”
At the moment, the opposite party had also begun the second step. They were currently pondering how to eliminate all the dissolved substances in these solutions. After careful deliberation, Sean began to execute actions that were different from Huang Qiao Yi’s—he mixed the silver nitrate and ammonium bicarbonate together! During filtration, silver carbonate and ammonium nitrate were produced. The hydrobromic acid was then used to wash the silver carbonate, producing pure water!
That bottle #3 was the single step different between both sides’ methods. The observing students all began to draw something on papers. Some of them agreed with the method Meng Ming’s side was using, while others felt that Sean’s method was more accurate. These details seemed minor, but they actually decided how much water would be produced overall!
Time passed slowly. Neither side stopped their work with the apparatuses.
“Brother Meng Ming, do they know what bottle #9 contains?” Huang Qiao Yi asked Meng Ming on the side.
“Probably not yet.”
“Bottle #9 is quite weird. Should I use fire to burn it?” Huang Qiao Yi asked.
“Use fire to burn it? Why?”
“We can determine the metal ions in the bottle based on the color of the flame. If it’s flammable, it might also be some insoluble substance like benzene, and produce carbon dioxide and water vapor like benzene does upon being heated…”
“I don’t understand at all….but, I wonder, doesn’t this bottle contain water?” Meng Ming looked at bottle #9 and said this in disbelief.
Huang Qiao Yi stared at Meng Ming’s face. She asked in an ineffable tone, “Why would it be water? The teacher asked us to produce water, so why would she give us water? What basis do you have…”
“Look…” Meng Ming curled his lip towards bottle #9. When Huang Qiao Yi looked over, she saw that a spider was currently swimming happily within it.
“Ah! A creature that dropped in from a tree…don’t contaminate our chemical!” She hurriedly used a glass rod to pick the spider out. The spider fell back to the ground without any abnormalities on its body, and continued to quickly crawl forwards.
If it was a chemical, that kind of small creature most likely wouldn’t have survived.
“I told you, it’s water.” Meng Ming placed the emptied out breaker to one side, and continued to empty another.
After thinking this over, and looking back at the already labeled test tubes, Huang Qiao Yi excitedly said, “Really, is it really water? So you mean, the teacher was testing us on whether we could recognize water, and whether or not we dare to directly pour it into her graduated cylinder…”
“Exactly!” Meng Ming looked back at the opposite party, and saw that Sean was only fiddling with 3 bottles. He wasn’t paying any mind to the experiment progress on Meng Ming’s side. Meng Ming confidently said, “Little Qiao, lower your voice. They still don’t know.”
The operations on both sides quickly completed. The situation was as below:
|Zhuge Meng Ming’s side||Sean Bozmann’s side|
|Benzene: 0.5L||Benzene: 0.5L|
|Water: 0.92L||Water: 0.48L|
|Nitric Acid: 0.98L||Ammonium Nitrate solution: 0.98L|
The difference between the two were the nitric acid and ammonium nitrate solutions?!
At this moment, Sean told Thomas to go fetch large beakers, a tripod, and an alcohol lamp. What, what is he doing? Huang Qiao Yi checked the large bottles on the table and thought a bit; it felt like she’d made some mistake somewhere…but she had yet to discover where!
Sean set up the tripod and suddenly declared at Meng Ming, “Ha, you haven’t yet realized that you guys have already lost!”
“What?” Meng Ming suddenly lifted his head at Sean’s words.
“You guys directly heated ammonium bicarbonate earlier, right? After heating it, it decomposed into ammonia, water, and carbon dioxide!”
“That’s right…” Huang Qiao Yi told Meng Ming that Sean’s words were correct.
“But, your ammonia has already flown away! Yet our ammonia is still here, our ammonium nitrate solution!” Sean pointed at the bottle of solution that he was prepared to heat. “When you heat that, it will produce even more water than you guys have. You’ve already lost your chance!”
When the surrounding students heard this, they immediately began to write out the equation on their papers. Huang Qiao Yi thought about it, and discovered that it was indeed so! —If the ammonium bicarbonate was changed to ammonium nitrate and then heated, it would indeed produce more water. However, this slight difference really didn’t count much.
“It’s fine, Brother Meng Ming. Although he’s right, the result won’t differ much. The amount of water produced can’t be determined until after distillation.” Huang Qiao Yi’s words calmed Meng Ming down. Meng Ming immediately resisted against Sean, “Does that small bit make a difference? Don’t forget, there’s still the final step, distillation!” He was still very confident because Sean hadn’t realized at all that there was 0.5L of water in their initial materials! That minor difference couldn’t possibly make an impact on that 0.5L difference.
“That’s true, but,” Sean reminded them. “….Based on your methods, can you really get to the last step?”
Sean’s words made Huang Qiao Yi more alarmed. Ah…don’t tell me…! She suddenly discovered where her problem was!
“Based on your methods, that large beaker you produced should be nitric acid! How do you plan on distilling nitric acid solution?” Sean laughed.
All the students cried out ‘oh’ in realization! They all understood what Sean was saying.
Huang Qiao Yi finally understood. Nitric acid was volatile, so this large beaker of solution couldn’t be distilled to form pure water! —No matter how much nitric acid was distilled, it would remain as nitric acid!
The only things remaining on Meng Ming’s table were benzene, water, and 0.98L of nitric acid that they couldn’t eliminate. Nearly 1L of solution was completely wasted!
“Brother Meng Ming…” Huang Qiao Yi slowly said, her head lowered.
“What’s wrong? Are his words right?” Meng Ming turned his head to the side and asked.
“I’m sorry.” Her voice was so soft that Meng Ming pretty much couldn’t hear her. Huang Qiao Yi’s hands were on the lab table, her eyes looking like they’d quickly well up with tears.
Huang Qiao Yi hadn’t thought that this would happen. She knew they had to be victorious, and had been completely immersed into the competition. However, because she’d been enjoying the thrill of the experiment, she’d been careless and instantly lost half of the product!
Sean’s voice could be heard again, “You guys had better just admit defeat early, don’t bother wasting your time. Distillation is extremely time-consuming.”
Seeing that Huang Qiao Yi was on the verge of crying, Meng Ming hurriedly comforted her. “Little Qiao, don’t worry!” “If we give up now, everything will be over.” “We’re just lacking 1L, we can catch up in an instant!”
Meng Ming did some calculations. If Sean didn’t discover that bottle #9 was water, there would only be around a 0.5L difference between them.
“Then, how do you plan on catching up?” Sean casually said, already starting to heat up his ammonium nitrate solution.
Meng Ming looked at their table, getting an idea of their current situation—there were only benzene, water, and nitric acid on the table. They didn’t react to each other at all. In other words, these chemicals no longer served any use.
Even the Zhuge Style Cheating Technique wasn’t enough to catch up to the other party…
|Zhuge Meng Ming’s side||Sean Bozmann’s side|
|Benzene: 0.5L||Benzene: 0.5L|
|Water: 0.92L||Water: 0.48L|
|Nitric Acid: 0.98L [x]||Ammonium Nitrate solution: 0.98L (to become 0.96L of water)|