Saturday, January 26, 2019 9 am – 5 pm
Chemistry of Rocks, Minerals and Mining
Dr. Ron Furstenau, USAFA Chemistry Professor, retired
Dr. Gary Balaich, USAFA Chemistry Professor
Join us to take a closer look at the chemistry of rocks, minerals, and mining. In this workshop, you will explore different ways of analyzing earth materials using chemistry techniques. You will actually conduct a chemical analysis of malachite, a copper-containing mineral. You will use advanced technologies such as inductively coupled plasma (ICP), scanning electron microscopy, and x-ray dispersive analysis (SEM-XRD) to analyze the metals in minerals. In addition, you will learn about the fascinating science behind the fluorescence and phosphorescence observed in certain rocks, mineral, and gemstones. No matter what type of science you teach, you WILL really enjoy this workshop. Like most of the Science HUB activities at the USAF Academy, we will make sure we have something for everyone, with emphasis on middle and high school teachers. We will provide activities that (1) expand participants’ knowledge base; (2) provide the opportunity to do experiments that can be used in their classrooms, either as a demonstration or as a student lab; and (3) provide the opportunity to do experiments in a research-style environment using advanced equipment.
0915 Meet participants on the south steps of the Cadet Field House; escort to
Chemistry Conference Room (2N189)
0945-1015 Introductions, refreshments, admin items in Chemistry Conference Room
1015-1115 Presentation: “Chemical Analysis of Rocks, Minerals, and Gemstones”
Dr Gary Balaich
Dr Balaich will give an overview of some of the chemical analysis techniques used in today’s lab. These techniques will include flame tests, acid tests, inductively coupled plasma (ICP), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and x-ray analysis.
1115-1130 Break, Chemistry Conference Room (2N189)
1130-1330 Laboratory Experiments
Group A: Chemical Analysis of Malachite (Dr Furstenau)
“Chemical Analysis of Malachite”: All portions of this lab exercise can be done in your classroom/lab as a student lab or as an instructor-led demo. Malachite is a copper-containing metal with the chemical formula Cu2CO3(OH)2. In this lab, you will learn how to test for the percent copper in the mineral by roasting and smelting the mineral. Roasting and smelting are both common refining techniques to obtain metals from minerals. You will also identify the presence of carbonate in the mineral by an acid test. You will then learn how to use the mineral data base (http://www.webmineral.com/chemical.shtmlto identify your sample as malachite. We’ll also use classic flame tests to qualitatively identify metals in other compounds.
Group B: Instrumental Analysis of Metals in Minerals (Dr Balaich)
“Instrumental Analysis of Metals in Minerals”: In this session, you’ll get to use the modern analysis methods of inductively coupled plasma (ICP) and scanning electron microscopy equipped with an x-ray dispersive analyzer (SEM-XRD) to analyze for metals in rocks and minerals. ICP is a very powerful and sensitive quantitative technique for determining metals in samples. SEM-XRD is a non-destructive technique that gives more qualitative, but equally valuable, information about the mineral.
1330-1430 Working Lunch Break in Lecture Hall (2P318)
Presentation: “Fluorescence, Phosphorescence, and Fireworks”; Dr Balaich
During lunch, Dr Balaich will discuss the science behind the fluorescence and phosphorescence observed in certain rocks, mineral, and gemstones. This will include some neat demos/samples! If time permits, the chemistry of fireworks will also be discussed.
1430-1630 Laboratory Experiments
Group A: Instrumental Analysis of Metals in Minerals (Dr Balaich)
Group B: Chemical Analysis of Malachite (Dr Furstenau)
1630-1700 Final wrap-up of the day’s events (2N189)
1700 Depart chemistry area for Cadet Field House