Getting Started with Microscale Gas Chemistry:
The Basic Equipment



Pictured here are the pieces of equipment that you will need for either classroom demonstrations or laboratory activities.
There are three or four items that you will probably need to order and the rest of the items are commonly available.  To use the equipment for demonstrations, you'll need about 5 syringes, 40 cm tubing, 10 syringe caps, and 10 vial caps. All together, it will cost you less than $25. If you are buying enough for the whole class, the cost will be around $100 for 20 students. Helpful advice and more information is given in the section on Ordering Gas Stuff.

Recommended Vendors:

Educational Innovations sells the catalyst tubes used in many experiments as well as general equipment for gas chemistry.  Go to their webpage.

Flinn Scientific provides most of the equipment called for in our microscale gas techniques (syringe kits, etc.)  Go to their website. Flinn sells in the USA only.

Fisher Scientific generally sells in larger quantities than the other companies. Their prices are generally very good. Go to their website.

S17 Science Supplies & Services Their price is similar to Flinn's and they sell worldewide. S17 also sells a variety of syringes, syringe caps and related parts and many, many other things for teaching science. Go to the website.

Syringes. 60-mL plastic syringes with a LuerLOK fitting (For demonstrating gas chemistry, the teacher should have about 5 syringes; for a laboratory setting, estimate 3 syringes per pair.) If you are buying just a few for demonstrating gas chemistry, try Flinn or Educational Innovations.

Flinn sells individual syringes: Order #AP8754; $3.55 each (price as of May 2010; multi-packs are not listed)

Educational Innovations: Order #GAS-140 $2.75 for 1 - 5; $1.95 for 6 or more (price as of May 2010)

Buying a box of 30 saves money cost drops to less than $1 each!
Fisher only sells in bulk: Order #14-823-2D; $26.17 for 30; $89.46 for 4 pks x 30 (price as of May 2010)

S17 Science Supplies EQ 109 (30 syringes $67)

Syringe Caps. You will need one for each syringe but they are cheap!)

Flinn sells Flinn AP8958; ten-pack, $2.40 (price as of May 2010)

Educational Innovations GAS-160, ten-pack, $2.95 (price as of May 2010)

S17 Science Supplies EQ 081 (10 syringe caps $ 4.50)

Plastic vial caps that fit within the barrel of the syringe (one per syringe)

Educational Innovations GAS-180, ten-pack, $3.95 (price as of May 2010)

Fisher Scientific, Part Number 03-340-18E (caps only; $49.97 for 500: 8 cents each; price checked May 2010) OR Part Number 03-339-26B.  These come with the vials they cost $36.81 for 144 (25.6 cents each).

Latex tubing. 1/8-inch (3.175 mm) ID.  Each pair of students should have one 15 cm length and two 4 cm lengths; a ten foot roll would be enough for 13 pairs of students.

Flinn #AP2076; 10-ft, $6.95 (price as of May 2010)

Educational Innovations #GAS-220, 5-ft, $5.95
(price as of May 2010)


Next, learn the basic techniques for generating gases in syringes and then manipulating them (such as moving a gas from one syringe to another). To do that, click on the menu item "Step-by-step instructions."  There you will be learn the simple techniques used in the generation and study of most of the gases described at this website. If possible, have the equipment ready to follow along as you read through the tutorial, "Step-by-step instructions". Also, have vinegar and baking soda available and use your equipment to make carbon dioxide!  Next, read the section called "3 Easy Gases"! Then, make some gas! Start with carbon dioxide and try the experiments. You'll be hooked! Then try oxygen and hydrogen.  In each chapter, you will find detailed instructions for preparing a gas followed by a series of experiments that can be done with the gas. Many of these make great labs for high school and university students. All of the reactions can be used for classroom demonstrations! 

Topics that is supported by one or more of the gas experiments: (A lot more information is provided in the section "Gases in your Curriculum!")

acid rain air pollution catalysis combustion environmental issues equilibrium
Ideal gas law intermolecular forces kinetics
limiting reagent microexplosions molar mass
oxidation/reduction precipitation reaction stoichiometry rocketry solubility and many more!