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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 19 (2014) pp 342-346

Biodiesel Synthesis, Viscosity, and Quality Control for an Introductory Chemistry Lab

Kenneth A. Walz*,, Stephanie Britton, Jessica Crain, Katie Cadwell§, Adam Hoffman**and Paul Morschauser

†Madison Area Technical College,; ‡University of Wisconsin-Madison; §Syracuse University; **University of Dubuque
Received July 21, 2014. Accepted September 25, 2014.

Published: 20 November 2014

Abstract. This paper describes the synthesis and characterization of biodiesel fuel with general chemistry students. Students produce biodiesel and assess quality by measuring viscosity. The fuel is compared with a commercially available reference fuel to facilitate discussion of quality control. The lab provides an exploration of instrument calibration, biofuels, and renewable energy. The lab is also applicable for high school, and a simple low-cost alternative viscosity procedure is presented.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; high school; general chemistry; laboratory instruction; lipids; biodiesel; transesterification; physical properties; calibration; agricultural chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (25 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

One supporting file is including student lab activity handouts and instructor notes is available (128 KB).

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