Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The sound of broken glass...


I have the uncanny knack of identifying lab glassware by the sound it makes when it lands and breaks on the floor.

I amaze my students when I hear them drop something and identify what it was without seeing it. I get the chance to practice this a lot in General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry labs. It is mostly beakers and flasks, but there are distinct differences between the different types of glassware used in lab.

6 comments:

Ψ*Ψ said...

Sounds like a useful skill! Or at least impressive. Can you ID size as well?

Chemgeek said...

Yes,

Sizes and type. Try it sometime. Drop a 50 mL beaker and then a 400 mL beaker. Distinctly different sounds.

I have found that the size has to vary by more than 100 mL for me to ID it.

milkshake said...

You can tell a test tube crash from something more expensive :)

Have broom and brush ready in the lab, preferably several of them - many cuts happen when people try to pick up the splinters with their hands.

Also, unobstructed hearing in the lab is very useful - you learn to instantly recognise a sound that shouldn't be there - a hiss, splash, drip, whoosh or crash - so don't let your students to use iPod, CD player or any other kinds of headphone thingy in the lab.

Woller's Disciples said...

I liked the sound or the buret falling. It had a nice resonance.

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