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ERIC Number: EJ923698
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
An Integrated Approach to Introducing Biofuels, Flash Point, and Vapor Pressure Concepts into an Introductory College Chemistry Lab
Hoffman, Adam R.; Britton, Stephanie L.; Cadwell, Katie D.; Walz, Kenneth A.
Journal of Chemical Education, v88 n2 p197-200 Feb 2011
Students explore the fundamental chemical concepts of vapor pressure and flash point in a real-world technical context, while gaining insight into the contemporary societal issue of biofuels. Lab activities were developed using a closed-cup instrument to measure the flash point of various biodiesel samples. Pre- and post-tests revealed that the student's grasp of the relationship between vapor pressure and flash point went from 46% to 91% after completing the lab and 76% of students responded that measurement of flash point helped them better understand the concept of vapor pressure. In the 3-h lab, students produce a small sample of biodiesel fuel and then evaluate the safety and quality of their product compared with a commercially available reference fuel that meets ASTM specifications. The experiment illustrates how fuel properties depend on the production process and the resulting composition and purity of the fuel product. The observed differences in fuel flash points provide for an introduction of the concepts of chemical quality assurance and quality control. The goal of this lab is to increase understanding of biofuels and associated chemical concepts that influence the properties of various renewable and fossil fuels. (Contains 3 tables, 3 figures and 1 scheme.)
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