04 Nov Learning Though Labs
In a recent Chemistry class, we preformed a lab that involved investigating how much base is needed to neutralize an acid of unknown concentration. We then used this information to calculate the original concentration of the acid. This might sound boring, but this same kind of experiment might be used by a Chemist in a Pharmaceutical company to determine concentrations of acid in aspirin for quality control – an application that impacts many of us.
After putting on our safety goggles and apron, we examined the equipment we needed: a 250 mL Beaker, a volumetric cylinder, a buret, a pH probe, a glass stirrer and a base (NaOH) of concentration 0.1M and an acid (HCl) of unknown concentration.
We connected the pH probe to a computer using the graphing software called Logger Pro. The probe records the acidity or basicity of a solution and graphs the change in the pH value, which was interesting to watch happen. We slowly added drops of base into the solution until it reached the Maximum pH and stabilized. The most challenging part of this experiment was making sure that we didn’t go past the equivalence point, as even one extra drop of can result in an error.
Labs make concepts much easier to understand as I can see chemical reactions take place right in front of me. I find that I learn more by doing experiments than by sitting behind a desk and taking down notes. They also make learning more interactive and fun.
Photos by: Ben Bowling