The combustion: experiences in the chemistry laboratory

The study of the combustion phenomenon through chemistry laboratory activity ​

by Roberto Poeti
Laboratory experiments on the phenomenon of combustion.

In the 2010-2011 school year, among the chemistry laboratory exercises performed by the students, one was dedicated to the study of the phenomenon of combustion. Among the reports submitted by the students I chose one in particular. I present it below in PDF format. Reading it is not only instructive but also very enjoyable. The paper  was developed by systematically reporting the laboratory tests carried out, complete with tables and images. It is worth underlining in this report the commitment made by the student, the clarity in the exposition of the experimental facts, the reflections on the tests that took place and the relative conclusions that are promptly drawn. The report includes a brief historical introduction on the transition from the theory of phlogiston to the interpretation given by Lavoisier.

The importance of understanding combustion

I believe that reading the paper can give the teacher of basic chemistry in the second year and of organic chemistry in the third year of the secondary school biological or chemical course some ideas for addressing, through experimental activity, the phenomenon of combustion. It is above all in an initial organic chemistry course that the phenomenon must be clarified in its various aspects. The mistake that is often made is to underestimate the conceptual complexity of the combustion phenomenon. Experimental activity represents the elective means for its understanding. The report of the student I present to you has not been modified in its exposition. You will find some inaccuracies, and even sometimes a language that is not exactly technical, but the body of knowledge exposed is fundamentally correct and constitutes a valuable teaching tool.

The laboratory report

Below you will find the report in PDF format, the exposition of which is enriched with images and photos.

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