When liquid nitrogen is placed in a sealed container, the pressure of the container increases until the container explodes. The energy released in the explosion can be used to launch a bucket high into the air. Analyzing the experiment using the ideal gas law gives results that are inconsistent with observations. Use of the van der Waals equation yields reasonable results.
I was recently drawn to an article published ASAP in JCE entitled Application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics To Explain the Working of Toys. Erick Castellon wrote the article highlighting the use of three toys that are used to help students develop an understanding of the second law of thermodynamics and entropy by having them observe the working of the toys and the energy transfers that occur while playing with them. I already had two of the toys, the radiometer and the drinking bird. I ordered the stirling engine from the link provided in the supporting information. As I waited for the stirling engine to arrive from Japan (which was only a few days) I attempted to write an activity to guide my students to conceptual understanding as they worked with the toys.
Endothermic and exothermic reactions and processes are a common topic in chemistry class. This activity provides examples that can be done with household materials.
Did you know that Pyrex glassware used in chemistry labs is different than Pyrex glassware used in kitchens? Pyrex glass used in chemistry experiments is made of borosilicate glass, whereas the Pyrex used when baking is made of soda lime glass.
Teaching Chemistry and Making a Difference
The March 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/3. The March issue features: changing the curriculum to make connections, forensic chemistry, computer-based learning, hands-on activities and labs for introductory chemistry, teaching physical chemistry, organic and biochemistry labs, and the mole concept.