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Author page: Natalie Ulrich

Bath Bombs: An Inexpensive and Accessible Kinetics Experiment

In this fun and colorful experiment, students make their own bath bombs and investigate the effect of temperature on reaction rates. by Meaghan Cabassa and Beth L. Haas* J. Chem. Educ. 2020, 97, 6, 1629–1632 Abstract: Cosmetic chemistry is a prevalent part of everyday life, but there are very few undergraduate laboratories that explore this topic.…

Determining the Pressure inside an Unopened Carbonated Beverage

Students tackle the deceptively simple task of determining the pressure of carbon dioxide gas inside a sealed soft drink can. By Hans de Grys, Journal of Chemical Education 2007, 84, 7, 1117 Abstract Soft drinks provide a unique way to explore chemical principles. A challenging exercise for students is to determine the pressure of the carbon dioxide gas inside…

Qualitative analysis of household powders

Students investigate 8 household white powders and classify them based on their physical and chemical properties. Using their findings, students then identify an unknown powder obtained from a crime scene to determine the suspect's guilt or innocence. Students gain experience in the identification of chemical and physical changes, careful organization of data, and writing chemical reactions.…
Conductivity probe available from Amazon

Charged with a salt: exploring conductivity

Students use household materials and a conductivity probe to explore factors that affect the conductivity of electrolytic solutions. Students gain experience in molarity and dilution calculations, solution preparation, nomenclature, statistical analysis, and graphical presentation of data. This hands-on activity is flexible and can be modified to accommodate both high school and undergraduate courses. Students can safely…

Using Excel for graphical analysis of data

Chemistry LibreTexts features this excellent guided activity for introducing general chemistry students to data analysis using Microsoft Excel as contributed by Santa Monica College. In addition to learning how to determine averages, standard deviations, and outliers, students learn how to create simple scatter plots, as well as plots containing multiple data sets. The exercise features detailed…

Synthesis of the copper pigment malachite: making tempera paint

Students synthesize the copper pigment malachite, then use the pigment to prepare egg tempera paint. Students explore "stoichiometry (excess reactants and yields), solubility, precipitation, and properties of emulsions" in this Journal of Chemical Education article by Sally D. Solomon, Susan A. Rutkowsky, Megan L. Mahon, and Erica M. Halpern. The first half of this experiment uses…
Alka seltzer fizzing

Determination of Percent by Mass of NaHCO3 in Alka-Seltzer Tablets

Use the (really fun!) reaction between the sodium bicarbonate in Alka-Seltzer tablets and vinegar to explore stoichiometry, percent composition, and limiting reactants. This experiment is easily and safely reproduced at home using household materials and this $12 balance. Students also gain experience with data manipulation, error analysis, and graphical presentation in Excel. This laboratory can be…
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