Session S74 (Thursday, 9:30am, Thomas 118)

P908: Use of a computer controlled spectrophotometer in home chemistry experiments

Lawton Shaw (Athabasca University, Canada), Robert Carmichael (Athabasca University, Canada)

Home lab experiments in general chemistry often involve simple chemical manipulations, general chemical observations, and measurements of volume and mass.  A mass balance is often the most complex piece of lab equipment that is required.  On the other hand, campus teaching laboratories are often equipped with a broader range of simple instrumentation that can be used by general chemistry students, including simple spectrophotometers.  We have attempted to bridge the divide between home and on-campus lab experiments by implementing a home lab colorimetry experiment that makes use of a simple, portable, computer controlled spectrophotometer (Vernier SpectroVis Plus).  The use of this type of instrument allows students to learn about instrument control, data acquisition, and data processing – functions that are common to a large number of experimental techniques in chemistry and other sciences.  This presentation will describe the instrument, the experiment, and our experience with durability, reliability, data quality, and student feedback.

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