Session S55a (Monday, 5:15pm, Willaman Gateway)

P353: Phase diagrams to explain the melting points of mixtures: A guided inquiry organic chemistry laboratory

Ronald Peterson (Ohio Northern University, USA)

An adaptation of a typical organic chemistry laboratory experiment is presented, in which students are guided to an appreciation for the melting behavior of impure compounds and of eutectic mixtures.  Students collect melting point data for mixtures of compounds that vary in composition from 10 to 90 weight percent of each component.  Upon completion, students compile data as a group and prepare a two-dimensional phase diagram, while seeking to address the question “How does the melting point of a mixture of two compounds compare to the melting points of the individual compounds?”  This exercise helps the students to “discover” the characteristics of eutectic mixtures and to apply that understanding to the melting point behavior of impure compounds.

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