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Quick and Seamless Integration At The College of San Mateo

San Mateo

October 5, 2006

The College of San Mateo has made great strides to swiftly and comprehensively incorporate MeasureNet into its General Chemistry lab program. The community college recently completed an impressive Science Complex that boasts state of the art laboratories, as well as a new planetarium and 20-inch telescope. The 2-year college campus is nestled in high ground just to the east of the San Francisco State Fish and Game Refuge, with its new chemistry labs having impressive views of the Bay below.

Under the lead of instructor Michael Clay, the Chemistry Department put MeasureNet to work within two weeks of its arrival. Using experiments adapted and devised during Clay's recent sabbatical at Arizona State University, the department is currently on track to employ its two Networks in 31 experiments during the two-semester General Chemistry sequence. This marks an unprecedented level of utilization in the MeasureNet user community.

Aside from normal probeware (temperature, pressure, pH, drop counters voltage, and multi-function colorimeters), numerous experiments utilize MeasureNet's manual entry feature to organize non-MeasureNet data into spreadsheet format. Students conveniently access an entire lab's data via the department's LAN, while instructors then have student data sets from each period 'swept' into a single spreadsheet for easier viewing and analysis.

"Because of its network design," according to Clay, "MeasureNet is ideally suited for use as a 'data center,' enabling the direct entry of student data acquired from attached probeware, as well as convenient manual entry. Students then have their own and others data aggregated conveniently for analysis using spreadsheets. No other interface enables this so seamlessly as MeasureNet."

Clay's individual experiments will be available to MeasureNet users in early 2007. Contact MeasureNet for more details.

San Mateo's CHEM 210 and 220 Experiments Incorporating MeasureNet

Lab02 Accuracy of A Graduated Beaker
Lab03 Volumetric Glassware
Lab04 Measurement And Significant Figures
Lab05 Density of An Unknown Liquid
Lab06 Density of Glass Beads
Lab11 Avogadro's Number
Lab12 Molar Mass Titration
Lab13 Gas Laws
Lab14 Calorimeter Constant
Lab15 Specific Heat Of An Unknown Metal
Lab16 Hess' Law
Lab18 Heat of Fusion of Ice
Lab19 Phosphate In Detergent
Lab20 Freezing Point Depression (Molar Mass Of Sugars)
Lab22 Heat Of Combustion

Lab03 Rates Of Reaction
Lab05 Keq Value: Ethyl Acetate
Lab06 Acids and Bases: Introduction to pH
Lab07 Keq of a Weak Acid
Lab08 Titration Curves – pH vs Volume of Base
Lab09 Weak Acid Titration
Lab10 Hydrolysis
Lab11 Buffers
Lab12 Solubility Ksp Determination
Lab13 Enthalpy, Entropy, and Free Energy
Lab15 Electrochemical Cells
Lab16 Nernst Equation
Lab17 Coordination Compound
Lab18 Colligative Properties – Freezing Point
Lab19 Ion Exchange of Sea Water
Lab20 Keq of FeSCN

> Review of MeasureNet on General Chemistry Program at The College of San Mateo

MeasureNet Technology Ltd. manufactures patented, network-based data acquisition interfaces for science teaching laboratories. It is a spin-off of the University of Cincinnati's Department of Chemistry and is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Measurenet's award-winning, PC-reducing design helps reduce laboratory maintenance and operational costs while giving students access to high quality shared UV-vis spectroscopy, gas chromatograph connectivity, high-pressure liquid chromatograph connectivity, and an array of innovative probeware. Its acclaimed intuitive design provides improved transparency to enable better science-focused, not technology-focused, learning. Winner of the Ohio Governor's Award For Excellence in Energy Efficiency, MeasureNet networks are found in universities, community colleges, high schools, and vocational training centers across the United States and around the world.

For more information contact:

Len Weibel
Director of Business Development
tel. toll-free: 866-396-6765

Wood's Corner—Have Data, Will Travel!

Elwood Brooks

January 8, 2006

MeasureNet’s Web Data Storage System

Did you know that the MeasureNet® data acquisition system allows you to store data on the web? Yes! MeasureNet® makes it possible for your students to upload their experimental data files onto a commercial web server controlled by MeasureNet®. The advantage of this process is that your students can then access (download) their laboratory data at any location in the world where there is a computer connected to the internet. This is a powerful tool that is available for use by you and your students through MeasureNet®.

How does it work? To upload files to the server several requirements must be met. First, obtain space on the server from us, and then designate a department administrator (or class instructor) from your institution to set up the laboratory course on the website. This person will add the students’ names to the course and then add the experiment(s) to be performed. Second, the course and the student list must be downloaded to the laboratory computer connected to the Measurenet® network. Third, the instructor must have enabled “uploading files” on that laboratory computer during the current laboratory session. Finally, the students must be logged on when they actually upload their data sets. Don’t worry, the entire procedure is not as complicated as it sounds. It is described in detail along with pictured examples in the new MeasureNet® User Guide. You can also always contact me or my colleagues for further help.

A general overview: The MeasureNet® web storage system is a complex database application that resides on a commercial network server. It provides for individual password accounts for all of the students in a given laboratory course. The students upload their MeasureNet® data files collected from an experiment through the system's single network computer to the web storage site. The only requirements are that an account for the institution must exist on the web storage site and the computer on each MeasureNet® network must be connected to the internet. If you have multiple networks in your laboratory, the single computer belonging to each network must be internet-connected!

While you do not have to purchase any additional hardware to take advantage of this feature, you do need to have a MeasureNet® administrator create an account on the storage site. Once everything is done, all data will be stored in this account (in addition to being copied to the local hard drive of each network's computer) and will be accessible only to you and your students. Many of our institutions find such post-acquisition data availability a valuable feature that permits greater flexibility in the use of lab time.

To find out more about the web data storage system contact us at MeasureNet® or email me at

Happy New Year!

Elwood Brooks signature

Elwood Brooks, Ph.D. is a MeasureNet Senior Applications Specialist still smarting from the Cincinnati Bengals' exclusion from the NFL playoffs. He can be reached at

Wood's Corner - The Colorimeter

Elwood Brooks

MeasureNet Spectrum Quarterly; November, 2005

I thought that I’d deviate from our normal discussion of probe care to answer some of the questions about our newest device, the colorimeter.

“What is a colorimeter and how is it different from a spectrometer?”

Colorimeters are generally simple photoelectric devices used to measure light over selected, relatively wide, frequency ranges in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. A spectrometer is a more complex device designed to first disperse the light into the wavelengths present and then measure narrow regions anywhere along the electromagnetic spectrum. Our colorimeter, for example, produces three separate colored bands of light-red, green, and blue-using a three-color light emitting diode (LED). Our standard spectrometer, on the other hand, covers all frequencies in the visible and near infrared spectrum. It employs a monochromator and a diode array detector to provide one nanometer resolution over the entire range.

“Why would I need a colorimeter in my lab if I have a MeasureNet spectrometer?”

This is a very good question. Let me answer it this way. Let’s say you want to do a simple kinetics experiment in your laboratory. Since the spectrometer is designed to be a shared device, it would be inconvenient to use by multiple groups of students for the large number of repeated measurements required to follow the course of the reaction. The colorimeter, on the other hand, is a much simpler, less expensive device, and each student group (i.e., each workstation) has its own. They are not shared. The colorimeter determines the absorbance of the reaction mixture twice per second, allowing your students to easily follow reactions occurring over times ranging from one or two minutes up to many minutes.

Another reason for getting colorimeters for your students is that the unit also functions as both a fluorimeter and a turbidimeter. Yes! We’ve combined these two features along with the colorimeter into one single unit. This means a new group of optical experiments can easily be incorporated into your laboratory at no extra cost.

“Is the colorimeter difficult to install and use?”

Those of you who have known us for a while know that we at MeasureNet attempt to make the instrumentation as simple as possible to use. We don’t want your students spending valuable laboratory time trying to figure out how to use instrumentation. We want them spending their time learning chemistry! Adding our colorimeter to your existing MeasureNet equipment only requires you to install new software in your controller and on your PC. If you need help with this, you can always contact us and we’ll guide you through this process. For our new customers who buy computers from us, your networks will be set up for you at the factory.

You use the colorimeter like any other MeasureNet probe. Simply plug it into the station and follow the usual simple menus to choose the LED color, calibrate (set 0% and 100% T), and begin measuring. The spectrometer can come in handy here for determining which of the LED colors is most strongly absorbed by the substance to be studied, and will therefore be the easiest to measure.

“Is your colorimeter different from other brands?”

Yes! We all use LEDs, but one of the problems with using LEDs for light sources is that they drift with time as they warm up. That makes it difficult to get accurate results for kinetic experiments in some systems. Some vendors pulse the LED to keep it cooler to help decrease the drift. We made a fundamentally different choice. The MeasureNet colorimeter incorporates a double beam design, and our testing shows that this configuration almost completely eliminates the problem of drift. Absorbance readings on simple samples are very stable over long time periods.

“I really like the MeasureNet concept but I have some other probe brands. Will these other probes, like a colorimeter, interface with MeasureNet?”

No! MeasureNet probes are designed specifically to work on our system. That allows us to provide the best data collection system possible for the cost. Probes designed for other systems are not compatible with MeasureNet and cannot be used. This does not include, however, various standard devices such as pH electrodes and ion-selective electrodes, which are available from numerous suppliers in addition to MeasureNet.

Keep your questions coming!

Elwood Brooks signature

Elwood Brooks, Ph.D. is a MeasureNet Senior Applications Specialist, motorcycle enthusiast, and Cincinnati Bengals fan. He can be reached at

Wood's Corner - pH Electrode Care

Elwood Brooks

MeasureNet Spectrum Quarterly; July, 2005

Probes, we wish they were not so delicate...

Unfortunately for us, most phenomena that take place in the chemistry laboratory are beyond the ability of our natural senses to detect. We can tell if a solution is hot or cold, blue or red, or acidic or basic using our natural senses; but if we want to quantify these observations, we need to use some type of probe to measure the response. 

A probe may be a device such as a thermometer costing a few dollars, or an expensive spectrometer costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Regardless of cost, our man-made probes are delicate devices that were developed for one reason: to obtain information about a chemical or physical system. Therefore, it becomes very important for us to give our probes the proper care so they will correctly give us the needed information.

I decided to start our discussion on probe care with the pH electrode, as it is commonly called. The probe that MeasureNet Technology provides is a refillable Ag/AgCl type combination electrode. By combination electrode we mean that a single unit contains both the glass electrode and the reference electrode.  In the laboratory, this probe is quite robust and ideal for the general H+ concentration measurements. The probe needs a limited amount of care, and will give you several years of service if taken care of properly.

When a new probe arrives at your laboratory, slide the rubber sealing ring down and fill the inside chamber with the saturated AgCl/KCl solution. Rinse the electrode tip with distilled water, blot it gently with a Kimwipe, and the probe is ready to be used.

You should never immerse the probe into solutions containing heavy metals, proteins, sulfides, tris-buffers, organic solutions, oils, or greases. These materials coat the glass bulb or poison the active sites on the bulb surface leading to probe failure. In some cases the probe may be restored, but before attempting to do so, contact us. Never rub the electrode surface, as this will destroy the hydrated gel layer. Be careful to blot the glass bulb gently if the need arises.

Do not store a pH probe in tap or distilled water. This will leach the ions from the hydrated gel layer of the glass and lead to electrode failure. Electrode storage solution may be purchased from chemical supply stores or prepared by dissolving 10g of KCl into 100ml of pH 4 phthalate buffer solution. Be sure to change your storage solution annually, as those little bugs will grow in almost anything.

With these few tips your pH probe will give you several years of reliable service.

Happy titrations,

Elwood Brooks signature

Elwood Brooks, Ph.D. is a MeasureNet Senior Applications Specialist and motorcycle enthusiast. He can be reached at

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