environmental chemistry

Microplastics, Liquid Nitrogen, and Iodine: Polystyrene vs. Starch Foam Packing Peanuts

The differing electrostatic and solubility properties of starch and polystyrene foam packing peanuts are used in various demonstrations to describe aspects of microplastics and their interactions with the environment. Their differing responses to exposure to liquid nitrogen and iodine solutions are also described.

Icy Brinicle of Death: A COOL Example of Freezing Point Depression

What real world examples are made known to students when discussing freezing point depression? What about brinicles, also known as "Icy Fingers of Death"? A brinicle (from brine + ice) is a finger-like formation of supercooled brine solution that grows downward underneath sea ice. Intrigued? Cool (pun intended). Keep reading to find out more!

Surveying Litter as a Citizen Science Chemistry Activity

During the last few semesters, a small survey has been deployed at Bradley University where students were to describe and classify items of litter that they found. The purposes of the surveys were to get students thinking about some of the chemical implications of solid waste and give the students some experience with a citizen science project. The most recent iteration of the survey, and some of its results, are described.

Color Changing Coke and Mentos

What's a better way to start the new school year than with some new experiments? Learn how to use a variety of color changing experiments to teach students about the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment, acids, bases, chemical and physical changes, and climate change.

Ice Cores, Stable Isotopes, Climate Change, and Chemistry: Part 2

Two important types of information obtained from ice cores comes from the bubbles in the glacial ice and the stable oxygen and hydrogen isotopes within the frozen water molecules themselves. This post describes how the bubbles (air pocket 'fossils') and stable isotopes are used to determine the concentration of gases in the ancient atmosphere, particularly in relation to past temperatures.

JCE 95.09 September 2018 Issue Highlights

The September 2018 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: reticular chemistry; laboratory research experience for students; historical perspective; chemistry and the environment; laboratories using color to understand chemistry; electrochemistry laboratories; DIY instrumentation; organic semiconductors; orbitals; computer-based learning and computational chemistry; from the archives: paper chromatography.