Dr. Ruth Nalliah, professor of chemistry at Huntington University, has helped shape chemistry education through the new laboratory experiment methods she recently described in the Journal of Chemical Education. Her paper, entitled “Reaction of FD&C Blue 1 with Sodium Percarbonate: Multiple Kinetics Methods Using an Inexpensive Light Meter,” was published in summer 2019.
Nalliah’s paper outlines an inexpensive, practical way to monitor degradation and undegraded concentration in dyes. Her new experiment methods also include an environmentally friendly reaction that degrades dyes in a way that follows mathematical equations well, making it easier for students to calculate and predict concentrations of undegraded dye.
“Without a lot of expensive equipment,” said Nalliah, “students can get much-needed practice with concepts that may later be used in other applications – to try to predict the concentration of medication remaining in a patient’s body, for example, or the concentration of a pharmaceutical pollutant remaining in river water, at any given time."
Now that Nalliah’s methods are available to lab manual publishers and lab instructors, students in entry-level college chemistry classes or advanced placement chemistry classes in high school will benefit.
“For years, similar experiments done in colleges and high schools have involved either reactions that take a long time or that require the preparation of many solutions,” said Nalliah. “We have optimized an easily-prepared reaction to be fast enough that students can explore more aspects of it in a shorter period of time while learning about the potential to develop a formulation from non-chlorinated bleaching products to start degrading not only dyes but also pharmaceutical pollutants prior to their release into the environment.”