The physical chemistry laboratory provides space for students to conduct experiments on physical properties of substances, reaction thermodynamic parameters (enthalpy, energy), rates of chemical reactions, and spectroscopic determination of molecular properties.
The laboratory, in Pfahler Hall 302, has bench space for up to twelve students and three hoods for handling volatile or hazardous chemicals safely. Thermodynamics experiments include the measurement of the speed of sound in gases to determine the heat capacity ratio, measurement of the critical point of ethane using a critical point apparatus, determination of the enthalpy of vaporization of a liquid, and determination of the temperature dependence of the voltage of an electrochemical cell. Kinetics experiments include determination of the rate of a diffusion-controlled reaction by fluorescence spectroscopy, spectrophotometric determination of the rate of an organic coupling reaction, and the kinetic study of the enzymatic inversion of sucrose. Spectroscopy experiments are conducted using the fluorometer, spectrophotometers, IR spectrometer, etc., in the neighboring Instruments laboratory.