World Journal of Chemical Education
ISSN (Print): 2375-1665 ISSN (Online): 2375-1657 Website: Editor-in-chief: Prof. V. Jagannadham
Open Access
Journal Browser
World Journal of Chemical Education. 2015, 3(2), 36-39
DOI: 10.12691/wjce-3-2-2
Open AccessArticle

Using Simulation of Apparatus Set-up to Improve Safety

Brahmadeo Dewprashad1, and Colin Persaud2,

1Department of Science, Borough of Manhattan Community Colege, 199 Chambers Street, New York City, NY

2Department of Computer Information Services, Borough of Manhattan Community Colege, 199 Chambers Street, New York City, NY

Pub. Date: April 09, 2015

Cite this paper:
Brahmadeo Dewprashad and Colin Persaud. Using Simulation of Apparatus Set-up to Improve Safety. World Journal of Chemical Education. 2015; 3(2):36-39. doi: 10.12691/wjce-3-2-2


There is increased focus on improving both safety and learning outcomes of undergraduate chemistry laboratory experiences. Incorrect setting and/or misuse of equipment occurs commonly and can even lead to accidents. This article describes how this was addressed by the development of pre-lab activities that require students to read a detailed step by step word document with instructions and appropriate diagrams describing the set-up of the apparatus, watch a video demonstrating the same and then demonstrating that they could set-up the apparatus by successfully completing an online simulated assembly of the apparatus. Following the pre-lab activities, students undertook the lab and were required to set up the apparatus on their own but to seek instructor’s help as needed. It was observed that the class was able to set-up the apparatus within fifteen minutes. This is in contract to the usual time of around one hour taken traditionally. The time saved was used was used to link the theory underlying the lab to a novel application of nanoparticles to accomplish distillation at room temperature. Students were also surveyed on their perception of the pre-laboratory activities. An overwhelming majority of the students felt that the pre-lab activities were valuable and better prepared them to set-up the simple distillation apparatus correctly and that similar pre-lab activities be developed for other laboratory exercises.

flipped pre-lab laboratory safety organic chemistry simulation simple distillation

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Grasgreen, A. Fallout From a Lab Tragedy, January 3, (2012). Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from:
[2]  Mohrig, JR. (2004). The Problem with Organic Chemistry Labs. J. Chem. Educ. 81(8): 1083-1085.
[3]  Domin DS. (1999). A Review of Laboratory Instruction Styles J. Chem. Educ. 76: 543-547.
[4]  Cooley JH. (1991). A Problem-Solving Approach to Teaching Organic Laboratory. J. Chem. Educ. 68:503-504.
[5]  Luckenbaugh, RW. Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Laboratory Safety. (1976). J. Chem. Educ. 73 (11), 1083.
[6]  Alaimo, PJ; Langenhan JM; Tanner MJ. (2010). Safety: An approach to engage students in laboratory safety. J. Chem. Educ., 2010, 87 (8), 856-861.
[7]  Chatterjee, S; Williamson VM; McCann K; Peck ML. (2009). Surveying Students' Attitudes and Perceptions toward Guided-Inquiry and Open-Inquiry Laboratories.J. Chem. Educ. 86 (12): 1427.
[8]  Kiefer, AM; Bucholtz, KM; Goode, DR; Hugdahl, JD; Trogden BG. (2012) Undesired Synthetic Outcomes During a Project-Based Organic Chemistry Laboratory Experience. J. Chem. Educ., 89 (5), 685-686.
[9]  Woodfield, BF; Andrus, MB; Andersen, T; Miller, J. Simmons, B; Stanger, R. (2005). The Virtual ChemLab Project: A Realistic and Sophisticated Simulation of Organic Synthesis and Organic Qualitative Analysis J. Chem. Educ., 82 (11), 1728.
[10]  Guindi, H. 2011, April 4. Core Lab Partners. Retrieved from
[11]  Jacoby, M. 2012, Nov. 26. Sunlight Plus Nanoparticles Generates Steam. Chemical and Engineering News. 90 (48):9. Retrieved from