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Colorimetry and Absorbance-Based Analyses Using a Smartphone Camera

This experiment was designed as an at-home lab experiment where students use a smartphone camera (or another digital camera) to obtain an external calibration and quantitate food dyes in consumer beverages or other foods. Several methods for at-home solution preparation are also presented. This experiment can be adapted for a range of educational levels, depending on the background information given. This work is based mainly on an experiment and information reported in the article by Destino and Cunningham “At-Home Colorimetric and Absorbance-Based Analyses: An Opportunity for Inquiry-Based, Laboratory-Style Learning” (under revision at J. Chem. Educ.). There are also several similar exercises previously published for in-class colorimetric analysis using a smartphone camera.

The attached file provides general instructions, suggested materials, experiment setup, and analysis. This information can be used to guide students in an at-home or in-lab project, or for faculty to quickly produce an experiment for students.

At-Home Colorimetric Analysis Overview Graphic

References & Additional Resources

  1. Destino et al. J. Chem. Educ. 2020, 97, 9, 2960–2966. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jchemed.0c00604
  2. Kuntzleman et al. J. Chem. Educ. 2016, 93, 7, 1249–1252. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jchemed.5b00844

A resource containing material for at-home determination of Gatorade concentration (and sugar content, indirectly) based on the colorimetric analysis of blue Gatorade solutions. https://www.saltise.ca/activities/claw-at-home-experiment-spectrophotometry-using-gatorade/

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