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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 10 Issue 6 (2005) pp 419-423

The Determination of Urea with Hypobromite: A Theme for the Discussion of Numerous Fundamental Concepts in Chemistry

Paul S. Francis*, Kieran F. Lim, and Simon W. Lewis

School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria 3217, Australia,
Received October 14, 2004. Accepted January 29, 2005.

Published online: 3 Novenber 2005

Abstract. Over the past century, numerous aspects of the reaction between urea and hypobromite have been exploited to quantify urea in clinical and industrial process samples. A review of these analytical approaches provides an interesting illustration of changes in a chemical system that indicate a reaction has occurred—the production of a gas, a color change, the release of heat, and the emission of light—and a variety of instruments that were developed to measure these changes and quantify a reacting species. In this paper we describe how we have used this material in a tutorial class for first-year undergraduate (freshman) students and a follow-up assignment, which we have included in the supporting material. In addition to the concepts exemplified by the above phenomena, we discuss the reaction pathway, which includes examples of ion and atom transfer. These are often overlooked in favor of electron transfer in the teaching of redox chemistry.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; atomic spectroscopy; quantitative analysis; stoichiometry; solutions

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (226 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:


Supporting Materials:

The follow-up assignment is available in a Zip file (139 KB).

Issue date: December 1, 2005

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