Exploring Materials for Carbon Capture: A Project-Based Lab for the First-Year Chemistry Course
The field of carbon capture, utilization, and storage is a popular area of research due to its connection to environmental issues and continually rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. To incorporate this important topic into the undergraduate chemistry curriculum, a test apparatus for CO2 capture was adapted for a 3-week, project-based lab designed to compare the efficacy of different capture materials. The experimental design of the apparatus is intuitive, using a gravimetric approach. It is also versatile, with the potential to test a variety of emerging materials for CO2 capture. The apparatus used does not require any expensive equipment, making it possible to implement with limited resources or even at the high school level. The 3-week lab was piloted in second-semester general chemistry labs for both undergraduate majors and nonmajors at Bridgewater State University, in Spring 2022. Instead of completing a cook-book style laboratory with an expected outcome, students worked together through class discussion, reading science news articles, and completing laboratory experiments to evaluate the efficacy and sustainability of sodium hydroxide versus deep eutectic solvents for carbon capture. Student teams were able to complete data analysis, evaluate the precision of their collected data, identify experimental limitations, and suggest ways for future students to continue the project. In the latest iteration, more emphasis was placed on science communication and oral presentation of data. Finally, surveys were developed to gather quantitative data on the impact of this authentic research project in the future.
Dr. Alyssa R. Deline, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Edward Brush, Committee Member
Dr. Melissa Tobey LaBelle, Committee Member
Dr. Sarah R. Soltau, Committee Member
Eng, Elise. (2022). Exploring Materials for Carbon Capture: A Project-Based Lab for the First-Year Chemistry Course. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 579. Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/honors_proj/579
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