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ERIC Number: EJ1173139
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Mar
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Exploring Exponential Decay Using Limited Resources
DePierro, Ed; Garafalo, Fred; Gordon, Patrick
Journal of Chemical Education, v95 n3 p428-432 Mar 2018
Science students need exposure to activities that will help them to become familiar with phenomena exhibiting exponential decay. This paper describes an experiment that allows students to determine the rate of thermal energy loss by a hot object to its surroundings. It requires limited equipment, is safe, and gives reasonable results. Students record the decreasing temperature values displayed by a thermometer, which was initially heated by body contact. The procedure is easy to repeat, taking only 3 min. The students then convert temperature changes into thermal energy losses and plot graphs. Data analysis can be used to teach graphing and ratio interpretation. This experiment can be used by high school or first-year college students in situations where resources or space may be limited or where large student populations dictate a need for uncomplicated experimental procedures, particularly those that minimize the production of chemical waste.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts (Boston)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A