P766: Putting chemistry on solid ground: Analysis of solids for a deeper understanding of chemistry
Chemistry faculty are changing the way chemical education is conducted and thus impacting the interest level, skills, and depth of knowledge of students. Four new instruments for the analysis of solids have been integrated into our chemistry curriculum. Their primary use is in the general, inorganic, physical, and analytical labs. Faculty have developed new, engaging labs for both non-science and science majors that involve hands-on use of these sophisticated instruments: an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, differential scanning calorimeter, thermogravimetric analyzer, and X-ray powder diffractometer. These instruments are being used to analyze for most elements in soils, powders, and metals (XRF); to characterize solid materials for properties other than structure or identity (DSC/TGA); and to provide information on the identity and structure of crystalline powders (XPD). These instruments were acquired through NSF-TUES grant 1043846. We hope to aid students’ understanding of solids and to enhance their understanding of the use of chemistry in a wide variety of practical applications that are not readily evident to beginning students. Successes and areas for improvement in the utility of these instruments will be shared.