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New MeasureNet Experiments From Dr. Jerry DeMenna and His Chem-Chek Labs!

Dr. Jerry DeMenna

MeasureNet’s Fun-Sci™ Experiments

Listed below are a few "fun" and "interesting" (aka: non-boring!) experiments developed to provide creative & effective teaching “tools” in laboratory environments using MeasureNet instrumentation—from general College Chemistry to Advanced University Research... as well as for High School Outreach (“Science-In-Motion”) programs. They focus on topics that students deal with or are concerned with everyday, and thus inspire them to remember what they did during the experiment. Please look for (and contribute to) our web-site ( soon!

> Voltage Probe
> Voltage Measurement - Liquid Chromatography (LC)
> Voltage Measurement - Gas Chromatography (GC)
> Temperature Probe
> pH electrode (with MeasureNet Drop-Counter)
> Pressure Transducer
> Spectroscopy - UV-vis
> Spectroscopy - AA
> Spectroscopy - IR
> Colorimetry / Fluorimetry / Turbidity / Luminescence with Multi-Function Colorimeter

[F1] Voltage Measurement Probe (+/- 2.5V range with < 0.1µV Sensitivity):
• The “Human” Storage Battery: Measure your personal “power” levels… People are Ionic!
• Time for Fruit: Get a charge from Metal Strips inserted in various Fruits… and power a Clock!
• Fuel Cell Technology: Can H2-Power really work… or is it really just full of hot Air?
• Indirect Conductivity: Personal “resistance”… Do Electrons “move” you?
• Culinary Conductivity: Are Foods called “Salt-Free” really what they’re meant to be?
• Electrolytic Activity the “Electromotive” Metals: Selective Corrosion,,, “sacrifice” one to save others!

[F1B] Voltage Measurement Recorder (+/- 2.5V range for Analog Instruments):
-=> Liquid Chromatography (LC) =
• Composition of SODA (or “POP”) : Can you have negative calories? Is the Caffeine “FREE” free?
• Anti-Oxidants in Cereals: Do "Snap" and "Crackle" still "Pop"? Finally "see" your BHT, BHA, TBHQ!
• Determination of Scoville units for Hot Peppers: How hot is "hot"?… check for the Peppery Peaks!
• Coffee, Caffeine and You: How non-Caf is your Decaf? How Acidic is the “Pot”? Let's brew & scan!
• Measuring the STUFF in Tobacco Smoke: It's no Joke to breathe Second-Hand Toke!
• Be a Drug Agent like on CSI… “Separate” some Dope and find out why! (It’s “bad” for you!)
-=> Gas Chromatography (GC) =
• Put the “kibosh” on some Mouthwash! Some leave your Teeth CLEAN, other make you turn GREEN!
• Get the Octane Rating of your Gasoline: Look at what you put in your Machine!
• Measuring Alcohols from Fermentation Broths: Is it Compost or is it Beer… not easy to tell, I fear!
• Evaluating VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds): Is your Paint Thinner an Environmental Winner?
• Determination of Essential Oils in Cosmetics by Headspace: Basking in Nature's Complexities!
• Combustion Engine Gases: Put your Cars in proper Classes by H-Cs, Water, COx, NOx, SOx, etc.

[F2] Solid-State Digital Temperature Probe (-50 - +125°C range)
• Juice-Can Calorimetry of Potato Chips: What you learn here will make your Tummy flip!
• Measure the Heat Capacity of “Polar” WATER vs. “Aliphatic” MINERAL OIL… which will Boil?
• Testing Specific Heat of Solids: Ionic Salt / Covalent Sand / Organic Polymers… which stays warmer?
• Heats of Reactions for Acids and Bases… find some “Heat Energy” in the strangest places!
• Soccer Injuries or Winter Days… those “Hot” & “Cold” Packs come into play! See Cool Hot stuff!
• Conservation of Energy and Matter: Hot & Cold will mix to “Balance out”… without a doubt!
• Be a Fire Safety Engineer… check Thermal Conductivity of Building Material & minimize Fire-Fears!
• Freezing Point Depression and Boiling Point Elevation… test them out on your Work-Station!
• Micro-Wave Susceptibility of Different types of Foods and Materials (“Lossiness”)

[F3] pH (0-14 units), mV (I.S.E. & Re-Dox); in conjunction w/ M-Net Drop-Counter:
• Measuring the Acetic Acid in Various Vinegars: Which “Sour” has the most “power”?
• Adjusting a Solution pH with a Buffer… getting any changes will be a lot tougher?
• Titrations with Acids and Bases: Protonate the Indicators in different places! (also w/ Spectro or Color)
• Determining the pKa for many types of Acids… Weak, Strong and Poly… good golly!
• Test the varying pH’s of Clam Chowdas… it’s “higher” in Boston, so say it Louda!
• Culturing Molds at different pH ranges: Is it contained or spread like the Andromeda Strain”
• Counting the Drops in your Titrations make these analyses a cause for Celebration!
• Titrate the Anti-Oxidants in your TEA… Compare Black, Green and White; what do you SEE?

[F4] Pressure Transducer (+/- 750 torr) & Tension / Force Gauge (Push/Pull to 45lbs):
• Learn to “obey” your Ideal Gas Laws… but test them here to find some FLAWS!
• A “Closed” System to study Plant Respiration… use Partial Vacuums in this Bio-Investigation.
• Evaluating the “Bubbles” in your Carbonated Soda Pop… do they hang around, or is your Drink a Flop?
• Modulus of Expansion based on Heat & Cold… test some Materials, if you’re so bold!
• Test GREAT Variations in Surface Friction… learn if Lubrication is a real Fact or just Fiction!
• Angular Vectors affect how “things” slide… so do your own studies & report them with pride!
• Small “Explosions” can create Pressure Waves… do this Lab only if you’re Brave!

[F5] Spectroscopy (shared Network Spectrometers), CCD / Diode Array & Monochromators:
-=> Scanning UV (Ultra-Violet) – VIS (Visible) Colorimetry:
• Examination of Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Are they "naturally" worth the extra money?
• Checking the Consistency of M&M and Skittles Candy Colors: Is the "blue" true blue or “faux” to you
• Measurement of UV-Blocking in Sunscreen Lotions, Lip balms & Sunglasses: See what you can't see!
• Determination of Rare Earths by High-Resolution absorbance peaks: Analyze Cigarette Lighter Flints!
• Spices of Life: See the "true colors" of Nature's products by solvent extraction!
• Evaluation of Food Proteins… React it to get a Blue COLOR and see ehat can be seen!

-=> Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS):
• Determination of Minerals in Vitamin Tablets: Are you "Absorbing" what you pay for?
• Checking Hardness of your Drinking Water: To Scale or Not to Scale?
• Get the LEAD Out!: Classic chelate-extraction to measure Lead in Drinking Water...R U Safe?
• Calcium & Minerals in Milk: Good for the Bones… or an Analytical Unknown?
• Ion-Transportation in Plant Tissues… an important topic In Fertilization issues!

-=> Infra-Red Spectrometry (IR):
• Adhesive Tape - The Poop on Glue & You: ATR/IR to get the skinny on your sticky!
• Evaluation of Synthetic and Natural Perfumes by Gas-Cell: Tell K-Mart from Chanel!
• Characterize the Plastics for Recycling by ATR: Keep your Olefins separate from your Polyesters!
• Fats Where Its At: Butter, Margarine and the "Fakes"; how bad is YOUR Fat?
• Hydrocarbons from Gases to Greases: Its "chain length" that makes these pieces!
• Oils Well that Ends up in your Engine: Is Oil “Oil”; Scan & see if its H-C, Polyester or Triglyceride!

[F6] Colorimetry / Fluorimetry / Turbidity / Luminescence (assorted LED-based technologies):
-=> Red / Blue / Green Colorimetric Date = Single ABS Values & Kinetics
• Test for IRON in our Daily “Eats”… check your Cereals, Veggies Breads and even special Treats!
• Reducing Sugars by Fehlings Test... great for Diabetics, Atkins-Diets and all the rest!
• Evaluation of Food Proteins… React it to get a Blue COLOR and see what can be seen!
• Checking the Consistency of M&M and Skittles Candy Colors: Is the "blue" true blue or “faux” to you
• Changing “Colors” of some pH Dyes… [H+] makes them look *new* to our eyes!
• The Iodine Test for Starches is GREAT… just Hydrolyze with Amylaze to get a Kinetic Rate!
• General Colorimetric Assay… for ANION Species (X-, PO4, SO4, O3, NO2, etc) saves the day!

-=> Filter-Based Fluorimetry = Single “EMISSION” Value
• “Zap” some UV against Chlorophyll from things that Grow… and see what makes it eerily Glow!
• The Highlights of Highlighting Markers: How bright is bright? Is the Package LABELLED right?
• Measurement of Algae/Plankton in Lake/River/ /Ocean Water samples: How healthy is your water?
• Evaluation of Cigarettes & Second-Hand Smoke: Nicotine for the Masses in your Breathing Gases?
• Analysis of Alkaloidal Material: Don't do drugs!....., but do drug analysis! Let's start with Quinine!
• Measure Amino Acids in “Energy Drinks”… Are their labels Accurate… or does their Data Stink!?
• Check Ground-Water “Plumes” with Fluoresceine… and Water-Table extracts will also be green!

-=> Turbidity (“Nephelometry”) = for Relative Comparison at Single values & Kinetics =
• Environmental Testing of “Settleable Solids” for River / Stream & Estuarial Waters
• Rate of Reaction of Silver Ion + Chloride Ion to form AgCl precipitate… Kool Kinetics!
• Visit Princeton University to see the Nassau Clock… but do this Lab in right at home (or School!)
• Test for IRON in our Daily “Eats”… check your Cereals, Veggies Breads and even special Treats!
• The Highlights of Highlighting Markers: How bright is bright? Is the Package LABELLED right?
• Measurement of Algae/Plankton in Lake/River/Ocean Water samples: How healthy is your water?

-=> Luminescence (“Phosphorescence”) = for Relative Comparison at Single values & Kinetics =
• Check out these Glow-in-the-Dark Plastics… some are made of Material quite Fantastic!
• Bio-Luminescent Algae and Bacteria are found in “Healthy” Waters… See anything “Fishy”?
• “UV” from Light that causes the “Glow” & Photon Motions… “Block” some with SPF Lotion!
• “Photo-Luminescent Plastic” is used in New York City… for buildings at risk by Homeland Security!
• The Luminol “Light Stick” reaction… used Organic Oxidation to set those Photons in action!

> Return to Top
> MeasureNet Fun-Sci™ Projects by Departmental Discipline



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