P859: From superhydrophobic surfaces to opalescent glass films: Modernizing the undergraduate lab experience

Author: Jose Rodriguez Nunez, University of British Columbia, Canada

Co-Author: Alyssa P. Dalton and Kathryn E. Latta, University of British Columbia, Canada

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 3:05 PM3:25 PM

Room: MAK B1120

Related Symposium: S57

The rapid development of Materials Chemistry over the last decade has been impressive. More than 10% of the American Chemical Society Journals publish on this specialty. At the educational level, the importance of Materials Chemistry has not gone unnoticed. To best prepare students for careers in the 21st century, undergraduate programs worldwide are creating courses in this field. New undergraduate laboratories focusing on the relationship between a material’s molecular structure and its large scale properties are now part of the Chemical Education literature. At the University of British Columbia, we have developed and implemented two new Materials Chemistry experiments. The first experiment is a two day (8 hour) laboratory in which students start from molecular precursors to prepare silica microspheres which are then deposited to yield opalescent films. The second experiment focuses on exposing students to Materials characterization techniques. In a four hour lab, students prepare switchable superhydrophobic/hydrophilic surfaces by electropolymerzation of pyrrole. Then, XPS, SEM, EDX, and contact angle information are utilized to characterize the surfaces. In this talk, these two experiments will be presented. The challenges of creating and implementing these labs will be introduced and students’ attitudes towards this field before, during, and after the lab will be discussed.

P767: Building your own photometer: A research-like experience used to teach analytical instrumentation

Author: Jose Rodriguez Nunez, University of British Columbia, Canada

Co-Author: Jessie Wang and Russ Algar, University of British Columbia, Canada

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 10:35 AM10:55 AM

Room: MAN 107

Related Symposium: S60

Modern analytical chemistry is a dynamic discipline that heavily emphasizes and relies on the utilization of scientific instruments and technology. Skills in operating, troubleshooting, and developing instrumentation greatly enhance student employability and research ability. One challenge in analytical curriculums is to change the common initial perception that the discipline is about boring titrations with glassware, and instead communicate that it is a discipline with cutting-edge technology. In doing so, it is also important to dispel the notion that instruments are “black boxes” that imperceptibly convert a sample into an infallible result. To these ends, we have developed and implemented a new introductory analytical chemistry laboratory that aims to eliminate these incorrect assumptions while teaching the aforementioned skills at a level appropriate for an introductory course. In this guided-inquiry laboratory, students build a photometer using common household items, low-cost LEDs, and a relatively inexpensive data acquisition module, then perform measurements using their own device. In addition to discussing the experiment in detail, this talk will present information regarding students’ attitudes and the effectiveness of this experiment in increasing student learning and engagement.