||Apr 26, 2006 by Chemistry Editorial Board
|| The IrYdium Project site is a site hosted by Carnegie Mellon University and
provides a collection of Java based applets that simulate chemical interactions.
The premier applet for the site is the Virtual Lab, which is an extensive applet
that simulates activities that take place in a chemistry laboratory. There is a
stockroom where the user can checkout solutions, glassware, pipettes, burettes
and Bunsen burners. There is a workbench where solutions can be mixed, diluted
and titrated. There are also panels that provide information about a selected
solution, including the identities and concentrations of the solute components,
the pH and the temperature. The Virtual Lab provides an array of example
homework problems, each with a detailed description of a problem that can be
investigated using the Virtual Lab along with a stockroom stocked with the
appropriate reagents and supplies for attacking the problem. In addition to the
applets, the site provides informational resources on the philosophical approach
taken in developing the applets and on incorporating them into a curriculum.
The students targeted are those taking introductory chemistry courses at the
college level. The IrYdium Project represents the fruits of a project that has
received over $1 million in funding from a collection of sources including the
National Science Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Carnegie
Mellon University. The site also provides a useful list of links to similar
efforts being carried out by others
|| The stated goal of the site is to provide faculty with Web-based tools that they
can use to help students become more engaged in their chemistry studies and to
better connect with chemical concepts. While the main aim is to learn the
fundamental concepts of general chemistry (Thermodynamics, acid-base chemistry,
stoechiometry, equilibria, solubility, among many) through experimentation which
could be of a directed inquiry nature.
|Target Student Population:
|| This site is most appropriate for students taking a course in high school
chemistry or at the university level, a coure in general chemistry or
|Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
|| An introduction to acids and bases and pH titrations as well as the function of
common glassware and what item is appropriate for a given process - i.e. when
does one use a pipet,
or a volumentric flask, etc.
|Type of Material:
|| The primary focus of the site is the Virtual Chemistry Lab, which is a highly
interactive Java applet that simulates a chemistry laboratory. It provides
glassware and a large stock of common chemical reacgents that can be used to
carry out a wide rage of titration type experiments
|| Virtual Lab can be used by instructors to demonstrate the procedures and results
of titration experiments. It can be used by students in pre- and post-lab
activities of predict or analyze the results of experiments which they carry out
in the lab.
|| Because the applets are Java based there is a wide range of results obtained
when viewing them with different combinations of operating systems and browsers.
This reviewer found that using Internet Explorer under Windows 2002 worked
consistently well. On the other hand, the results were quite varied when using a
variety of different browsers (Netscape 4.7, 6.2 and 7.0, Internet Explorer
5.2, OmniWeb 4.1 and Safari 1.0 beta) under Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. For Mac OS X
it is important to use a release of the Java Runtime Engine that is Java 2
Standard Edition v 1.3.1 or later. For Mac OS X, the most consistent results are
currently obtained by using the Netscape 7.0 or Safari browsers, or
alternatively, the Applet Launcher application that comes with the operating
system, instead of a browser.