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Undergraduate Education

Chemistry in Pictures: Lab in a box

by Alexandra Taylor
October 10, 2018

20181010lnp20-labinabox.jpg
Credit: Adrian Villalta-Cerdas

Adrian Villalta-Cerdas created this resin art to allow students to safely handle small amounts of chemicals during his general chemistry lectures at Sam Houston State University. Here, copper acetate appears in its solid form on the left and in an aqueous solution on the right. To make the resin casts, Villalta-Cerdas fills 1-mL flasks with the desired compounds and then fills the bottom of a silicon mold with some epoxy resin. Once it hardens, he adds the flasks, covers them with resin, and allows it to harden for 48 hours. He’s also made casts of liquid mercury, nickel(II) chloride, and graphite, to name a few. If a student were to drop a cast, the glass containers inside might break, but the compounds would remain safely encased inside the resin. Villalta-Cerdas says the reaction from his students has been mostly positive, but adds, “With college students, it is hard sometimes to tell if they like something or not.”

Submitted by Adrian Villalta-Cerdas

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