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ERIC Number: EJ968673
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-1756-1108
Introducing Education for Sustainable Development in the Undergraduate Laboratory: Quantitative Analysis of Bioethanol Fuel and Its Blends with Gasoline by Using Solvatochromic Dyes
Galgano, Paula D.; Loffredo, Carina; Sato, Bruno M.; Reichardt, Christian; El Seoud, Omar A.
Chemistry Education Research and Practice, v13 n2 p147-153 2012
The concept of "Education for Sustainable Development", ESD, has been introduced in a period where chemistry education is undergoing a major change, both in emphasis and methods of teaching. Studying an everyday problem, with an important socio-economic impact in the laboratory is a part of this approach. Presently, the students in many countries go to school in vehicles that run, at least partially, on biofuels; it is high time to let them test these fuels. The use of renewable fuels is not new: since 1931 the gasoline sold in Brazil contains 20 to 25 vol-% of bioethanol; this composition is being continually monitored. With ESD in mind, we have employed a constructivist approach in an undergraduate course, where UV-vis spectroscopy has been employed for the determination of the composition of two fuel blends, namely, bioethanol/water, and bioethanol/gasoline. The activities started by giving a three-part quiz. The first and second ones introduced the students to historical and practical aspects of the theme (biofuels). In the third part, we asked them to develop a UV-vis experiment for the determination of the composition of fuel blends. They have tested two approaches: (i) use of a solvatochromic dye, followed by determination of fuel composition from plots of the empirical fuel polarity versus its composition; (ii) use of an ethanol-soluble dye, followed by determination of the blend composition from a Beer's law plot; the former proved to be much more convenient. Their evaluation of the experiment was highly positive, because of the relevance of the problem; the (constructivist) approach employed, and the bright colors that the solvatochromic dye acquire in these fuel blends. Thus ESD can be fruitfully employed in order to motivate the students; make the laboratory "fun", and teach them theory (solvation). The experiments reported here can also be given to undergraduate students whose major is not chemistry (engineering, pharmacy, biology, "etc."). They are low-cost and safe to be introduced at high-school level. (Contains 8 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Brazil