Session S60a (Wednesday, 9:30am, Thomas 102)

P674: Optimizing auditory safety and presentation quality of high-intensity chemical demonstrations

Jeff Macedone (Brigham Young University, USA)

Chemical demonstrations are an important part of the process of how students construct meaning from chemical principles. Every chemical display poses some type of risk. For demonstrations which present auditory hazards, little has been done to assess the risks to educators and students. Using laboratory-grade equipment, we have measured the average sound pressure levels for several common chemical demonstrations, such as methanol cannons, the catalyzed combustion of hydrogen and oxygen, explosive mixtures of gases in balloons, and others.  The purpose of this work was not to determine which experiments should be prohibited in our classrooms. Instead, the intention was to work towards finding appropriate amounts of chemicals which were large enough for lecture presentations, but small enough to be within acceptable auditory exposure limits. We also explored using protective devices to reduce sound pressure levels of the demonstrations.


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