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Students understanding of intermolecular forces and their effect on boiling points
2004 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (professional degree)Student thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study was to discover Swedish high school students’ models for intermolecular forces and their abilities to use these for predicting the relative boiling points of organic compounds. A text book analysis was conducted for purposes of improving the interview guide and for comparison purposes with scientific models and student answers. Four interviews were conducted in Sweden with advanced-level natural science students in their final high school year. Students were asked introductory questions concerning the nature of intermolecular forces in order to discover their models and the criteria used for each. Four cards containing three simple organic compounds were presented, and the students were asked to reason aloud. Results indicate students have alternative models for hydrogen bonding as well as trouble applying models to practical problems. When predicting relative boiling points, students primarily equate hydrogen bonding with the presence of the hydroxyl group. Students did not have difficulties in making predictions between straight-chained and branched alkanes and alcohols. They did, however, have difficulties when presented with branched chains containing different numbers of carbon atoms. The experience gained in this study indicates the need for clarity when using models to explain connections between molecular size, contact surface area, bond strength, and boiling points.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. , p. 22
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-60285Local ID: GYM-45OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-60285DiVA, id: diva2:1125086
Educational program
Teacher education
Available from: 2017-07-13 Created: 2017-07-13

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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