Contact Information

  • Jennifer A. Tripp
  • Adjunct Professor
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • San Francisco State University

How Much Sugar is in Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices?

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In this experiment students measure the sugar content of different beverages. First, students construct a simple hydrometer from a plastic pipette and some metal washers, and calibrate their instrument using sugar solutions of known concentration. Then, students measure the density and calculate the sugar content of a variety of beverages provided by the instructor. Accompanying questions and references encourage the students to examine the ecological and societal consequences of consuming sugar and corn syrup. This experiment integrates student learning about the physical properties of solutions with issues of food, health, and sustainability.

This laboratory exercise is included in the laboratory manual to accompany Chemistry in Context, a college textbook of the American Chemical Society for liberal arts students. Chemistry in Context presents chemical ideas in the context of environmental and societal challenges, allowing students to explore the chemistry behind issues such as air quality, energy, clean water, and food security. Accompanying laboratory experiments provide hands-on practice with basic laboratory techniques and reinforce the principles of green chemistry that are explained in the text. Instructor notes are available for each experiment.

Summary prepared March 2012 by Jennifer A. Tripp at San Francisco State University.


Tripp, J. How Much Sugar is in Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices? Experiment #28 Chemistry in Context Laboratory Manual seventh edition;, Print Eds.; McGraw-Hill, 2012:

Category Descriptors

Chemistry Concepts
  • Solutions/Solvents
Laboratory Techniques
  • Measuring Mass and Volume
Green Chemistry Principles
  • Design Safer Chemicals and Products
  • Use Renewable Feedstocks
Chemistry Subdiscipline
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary
Target Audience
  • Colleges/Universities
  • Secondary Schools
  • Books