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Soap Project

Our first semester science-engineering project will be kicked off on Tuesday, December 12. The project involves soap making. We will make, modify, improve, and evaluate a soap. On the science side, it will be an exercise in variable control and chemical reactions. On the engineering side, there will be some 3D printing of a soap mold and the use of a motor to mix the reactants. And finally, the project will involve the usual cycle of make-modify-test-modify-test that is characteristic of both the chemical engineering profession and any pursuit of engineering.

You will need to form project teams of three students. 

Getting Down and Dirty with Soap Research

Since we are starting up our soap project, it's time to get down and dirty with a little bit of soap research. You should begin with how soap is made. And keep your eyes on the look out for information about fats - one of the key ingredients in soap. You will want to know what are good fats that can be used to make soap. We will start with the dirt-cheap Lard on the first day of the project. On lab Day #2, you will have to choose a different fat - cocoa butter, coconut oil, palm oil, etc. And finally on Day #3 you will be adding coloring and fragrances; so be on the hunt for information about that.

The links below are good starting points for your research:

The Chemistry Behind Soap Making

Let's Make Some Soap

How is Soap Made? One Word: Saponification

Soaps and Detergents: Chemistry

Chemistry Explained: Soap

Semester Exam Update

The 2017-18 First Semester Final Exam was completed on Wednesday morning. Here is the final tally of questions and question types. As of this writing (1/9/18), there are 50 Multiple Choice questions (50 pts) and 11 Long Answer questions (11 pts),. You will have 90 minutes and only 90 minutes to complete the exam. Last year there was a hands-on lab performed during the Final Exam; we will not be doing that this year. As a result there will likely be ~2 additional questions per topic. Here is the break-down per topic (as of this writing):

# Multiple Choice Qs
# Long Answer Qs
1 - Fundamentals
2 - Formulas and Reactions
3 - Stoichiometry
4 - Thermodynamics

Mr. H's Little Secret

Pssss.  Hey bud! I have a secret to share. Now that you know how to calculate the molar mass, here's a little cheat you should be permitted to use. It's called a Molar Mass Calculator and you will find several by following the links below. You type in the formula and it calculates the molar mass.

WebQC Chemical Portal (one of my favorites)

EndMemo (allows formula or name entry)

Environmental Chemistry (scroll to bottom)

Molecular Weight Calculator by Lenntech

or Google, e.g. molar mass Al2(SO4)3

FREE: A Chemistry Study Tip

Stretching out your studies over a lengthy period of time so that there are many "visits" of the material is far better than lengthier, less-frequent sessions of intense studies. So what's this have to do with Chemistry class? I'm going to tell you:

A little Chemistry each day helps. Your homework usually includes two WebAssigns - one is a "looking ahead" WebAssign in which you read about something that is coming up next. The other is a "looking behind" WebAssign in which you practice using something that we just learned in class. So why not do the "Looking behind" WebAssign on the evening of the Blue day - the day you were presented with the material. And then do the "Looking ahead" WebAssign on the evening of the Gold day - the evening just prior to when we cover the material the next morning. Hopefully that makes sense ... and it gives you a little Chemistry every day.  =SIGH=

    Online Homework


Username: your ID#
Password: your call

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Today in Class

>> Thursday, January 11 <<

Focus Question(s):
  • How did the Day 3 Soap turn out?

  • Final product testing; work time
  • Work Time: complete group report

  • Prepare for Final Exam
  • Group Report (if not done) – due by midnight on Monday, 1/14

Next Time in Class

>> Tuesday, January 23 <<

Second semester begins! We will kick off the new year with a unit on the Thermodynamic Model of Chemistry.

Periodic Tables

Are you in need of a periodic table?  Try one of the following websites:

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