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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 5 Issue 3 (2000) pp 145-148

Thermal Lens Calorimetry: A Novel Approach to the Study of Thermodynamics

George R. Long,* and Stephen E. Bialkowski

*Department of Chemistry, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15701, and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Utah State University, Logan, UT

Published online: 1 June 2000

Abstract. There has been a great deal of interest in modernizing the physical chemistry curriculum from the perspectives of employing more modern instrumentation and new teaching methodology. This paper presents a physical chemistry experiment in which thermal lens calorimetry is used to teach some general thermodynamics principles; as well, it provides an interesting and unique experiment. The experiment addresses numerous thermodynamic concepts, which include enthalpy changes and the relationship of thermal conductivity, density, and heat capacity. In addition, other topics, such as data analysis and optics, may be addressed. Discussion topics and exercises are provided that lend themselves to more extensive dialogue and would be appropriate for cooperative teaching methods and classroom discussions.

Key Words:  Laboratories and Demonstrations; physical chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (144 KB) HTML format

Issue date: June 1, 2000

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