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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 7 Issue 6 (2002) pp 366-370

Radiolysis of Aqueous Solutions of Benzoate Ion: A Radiation Chemistry Experiment for Undergraduates

Evon Powell and Nick Zevos*

*Department of Chemistry, SUNY College at Potsdam, Potsdam, NY 13676; Department of Chemistry, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY 13699-5810,
Received June 24, 2002. Accepted August 12, 2002

Published online: 24 October 2002

Abstract. This investigation describes the chemical effects of ionizing radiation on dilute aqueous solutions of benzoate ion. We have composed an experimental procedure that allows undergraduate chemistry students to identify and to quantitatively determine the amount of the products that are produced. The student investigators determine the absorbed dose that a sample receives when exposed to a 60Co source, irradiate dilute aqueous solutions of benzoate ion, and analyze the resulting mixture of hydroxybenzoate ions using high-performance liquid chromatography. The radiolysis of dilute solutions of benzoate ion results in the formation of a mixture of ortho-, meta-, and para-hydroxybenzoate ions that are readily separated on a C18 µ-Bondapak column. By the use of appropriate calibration curves, the yield (G values) of each of the isomers may be determined and compared.

Key Words:  Laboratories and Demonstrations; nuclear chemistry; general chemistry; nonmajors chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (286 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

A description of the 60Co Source, compositions of the dosimeter and the benzoate ion solution, analytical instrumentation and conditions, and the benzoate ion dissociation are included in a Zip file (171 KB) 10.1007/s00897020614b

Issue date: December 1, 2002

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