Introduction to the Virtual Laboratory

 

This semester you will be running a series of virtual lab assignments and exercises that have been collaboratively developed with Carnegie Mellon University.  The virtual lab is a JAVA simulation of aqueous phase chemistry that allows you to design, perform and monitor experiments and the ensuing chemical reactions.  The virtual lab applies artificial intelligence to calculations based on the Gibbs Free Energy equation which we will be studying this semester.  It thus not only functions as a simulation that can predict the results of chemical reactions, but applies the some of the very concepts we will be studying.  Furthermore, these activities are "green," in that they allow you to manipulate highly toxic "virtual" compounds without any waste production and the associated environmental implications.  These activities are not a substitute for the wet lab.

 

One of the advantages of the virtual lab is that it allows your instructor to assign inquiry based activities which expand the concepts covered in the actual laboratory.  To this effect you will be given problems requiring you to design experiments, not just run them in a cook book fashion.  It is hoped that through the development of these skills you will find chemistry to be a joyful experience and work harder to acquire the grades you need to succeed. 

 

We have set up a WEB based support site for use of the Virtual lab and you can ask the attendant in the SCLB 263 computing lab for assistance in running the program.

The support site is:

http://www.ualr.edu/rebelford/labs/vlab/vlab.htm

 

Here you will find links to a digital movie (you need headphones or speakers), several tutorials, your assignments and a posting of the unknowns.  You will also find a link to the actual virtual laboratory: 

The first time you log onto the virtual lab you will need to register. Use the email address you wish to receive correspondence with and write down your password. If in the future you forget your password, type in any password, and then follow the register again link when it denies you access. Continue to use the same email address and your new password will overwrite your previous.

You can run the virtual laboratory from any computer with WEB access.  When you first load the virtual lab it checks your PC to ensure it has all the required plugins.  If it does not, you will be directed to the appropriate downloads.  You can also access the virtual lab from the  UALR SCLB 263 computer lab.  Contact your instructor if you wish to have a CD copy of the virtual lab with all the appropriate downloads and we will provide you with one.