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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 6 Issue 1 (2001) pp 21-24

Quantitative Determination of Copper: Combining Project-Based Laboratories with Single-Analyte Detection

Mark M. Richter

Department of Chemistry, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, MO 65804
Received November 25, 2000. Accepted December 1, 2000

Published online: 22 December 2000

Abstract. A multiweek experiment is presented for use in undergraduate instrumental analysis courses. The experiment combines project-based laboratories and single-analyte detection to provide students with experience in method development and validation, and to give them a more realistic experience in the analytical laboratory. Working together as a team, students develop methods for the detection of an analyte (i.e., copper) in water samples using at least two spectroscopic instruments (e.g., ICP-AES, AA, UV–vis, fluorescence). Student teams are given only topical information about their projects, and must research and plan the analyses, learn the instrumental methods to be used, obtain figures of merit (e.g., detection limits) from Beer’s law plots, analyze commercial water samples, and produce a standard operating protocol for one of their methods, which will be validated by another team during a subsequent laboratory. Goals of this approach include promoting teamwork and building student confidence in approaching and operating unfamiliar instrumentation. Even more importantly, students are placed in the position of being scientists and having to make decisions and recommendations. Each step of the analytical process must be carefully considered, and its significance assessed as there are no recipes to follow as they develop their methods and make comparisons between different techniques for the determination of a single analyte.

Key Words:  Laboratories and Demonstrations; instrumental analysis; spectroscopic; ICP

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Article in PDF format (133 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Three student handouts are contained in the single zip file (80 KB) 10.1007/s00897000453b


Issue date: February 1, 2001

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