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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 16 (2011) pp 310-313

Heat of Combustion and GC-MS of Regular, Regular-Plus and Premium Gasoline: An Undergraduate Experiment

Anne Gaquere-Parker*, Kelly Lawson, Michelle Logue, Kimberly Sutton, Courtney Richardson and Shavelle Gant

Department of Chemistry, University of West Georgia, 1601 maple street, Carrollton, GA, 30118, agaquere@westga.edu
Received July 5, 2011. Accepted October 5, 2011.

Published: 9 December 2011

Abstract. Gasoline samples from three different gas stations and of different octane rates (regular, regular-plus and premium) were purchased, analyzed using GC-MS and combusted in a bomb calorimeter. In this experiment, junior physical chemistry students used a bomb calorimeter to calculate heats of combustion and become familiar with the theory associated with this technique. Students also obtained GC-MS spectra of the gasoline samples for which the conditions are provided here. The identification of eighteen major compounds most often found in gasoline, with octane as a reference, was achieved and the results are summarized in this paper. This experiment brings real-world into the teaching laboratory.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; physical chemistry laboratory; gasoline; bomb calorimeter; heat of combustion; gas chromatography; mass spectrometry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: agaquere@westga.edu)

Article in PDF format (119 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

The gas chromatograms for all samples, the mass spectra for the identified molecules and a student handout are available as a pdf file (966 KB).



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