CHEMISTRY simulates titration experiments. The program is
designed in order to enable students to practice the skill to
determine the properties (strength, pKa, pKb) of solutions of acids
and bases by titration with standardized acids or bases.
The simulated experiments can be executed very accurately because
drops of acid or base can be added to the solution one after
another. The speed of the chemical reactions is retarded in the
simulation. For this reason it may take some time before the
reaction caused by the addition of a drop of acid or base is
completed. This dynamic aspect may facilitate the discrimination of
the chemical reactions causing the observed phenomena.
Furthermore, time registrations of the pH, the pOH, the
concentration of kation of base, the concentration of anion of acid,
the concentration of non-ionized base and the concentration of
non-ionized acid are provided for in the simulation. In a real
laboratory this complete information can only be attained by means
of expensive ion sensitive electrodes.
Boblick (1971) emphasized that students may use computer simulations
of titration experiments to demonstrate their achievements in a way
which is faster, safer and more efficient. He also asserted that the
method of computer simulation eliminates the necessity to acquire a
number of psychomotor skills in order to demonstrate the achievement
of intellectual skills. Nowadays chemists seldom perform a titration
manually in the way it is taught during secondary education.
The invention of advanced electronic instruments (pH meters and
automatic burettes) have made the psychomotor skills acquired during
secondary education, obsolete for everyday chemical applications.
For this reason Boblick states that the acid-base titration during
secondary chemistry teaching can no longer be important as a
laboratory technique, but as a means of demonstrating the
application of chemical principles. This statement implies that it
is best to put the emphasis on the acquirement of intellectual
skills and not on the acquirement of psychomotor skills when
teaching titration during secondary education.
Compared with real titration experiments computer simulations
executed with programs like CHEMISTRY may be more suitable to
acquire the required intellectual skills.