Scientists engaged in research are also often engineers. Consider the engineering that went into developing your lab equipment, such as your force sensor and auto-titration equipment.
Are you interested in helping your students take on an engineering activity such as automating a titration? You’ll find this activity among our Engineering Extension Activities. The automated titrator described in the extension activity monitors the pH of an acidic solution as a base is added via a standard buret. A Digital Control Unit is programmed in Logger Pro to activate a Servo Motor that opens the valve on a buret at low pH values. Once the acid is neutralized, it closes the buret. This feedback loop can be fine tuned to adjust for a different target pH, among other considerations.
Check out this project, along with other engineering extensions for your science classrooms.
A similar, more advanced project is mentioned in the “Vernier in the Chemistry Journals” section. Famularo, Kholod, and Kosenkov published an article in the Journal of Chemistry Education in which they describe a recent project in an upper-level instrumental analysis lab class where students created their own automated titrator devices. The article describes how the students built their own automated titration system using Vernier pH Sensors, Arduino microcontrollers, and off-the-shelf solenoid valves. In the end, they succeeded not only in building an automated titrator but also at controlling it over the Internet!
At Vernier, we applaud efforts like this that help students understand how our sensors and equipment work. When students look under the hood of their laboratory instrumentation and learn what makes something tick, they gain a better understanding of both the science they are investigating and the tools they are using.