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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 19 (2014) pp 022-027

Stimulating the Imagination: A Green Tech, Deep Ocean Retrieval System

Cody Moncrief, Eric Haas, Elizabeth A Atkinson, Donna F Law, Brett Little, Chelsie D Northcutt, Ryndell Langford, Hilary F Lee, Gregory A Jackson, Jenna L Lippincott, Nicholas Fight, and Thomas Manning*

Chemistry Department, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia, 31698,
Received October 8, 2013. Accepted November 7, 2013.

Published: 24 January 2014

Abstract. In this exercise, students build and test a novel device that submerges to the bottom of a water-based system and resurfaces after a period of time. The reaction of calcium metal and water generates hydrogen gas, which lifts the container from the bottom. Compacted salt is used as a buffer to delay the reaction between the calcium metal and water. The reaction time can be varied from seconds to hours by adjusting the salt ratio (NaCl, NaHCO3 tested here) and its density. Calcium fuel could be considered a cost effective, green technology approach to propulsion. This prototype, which has no pressure differential, tether or electronics, is a method to introduce students to concepts and current topics in deep ocean science.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; physical chemistry; reaction kinetics; hydrogen peroxide decomposition; microscale chemistry; waste reduction; rate constant determination

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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