Beer's Law & Anesthesia Lab

Jack Hansen

Headline: Aunt Elda's Dead!

Aunt Elda mysteriously died after her appendix surgery. Was she given too much anesthesia? You are the lead investigator in this death. Use the sample given to you by the doctor to determine if she received the above normal amount of anesthesia! (<40%)

Pre-Lab Questions:

1) Have you had any experiences with anesthesia?

Yes, my experience with anesthesia was that I had local anesthesia on my left hip last year in order for fluid to be drawn out of the joint and tested for infection. Luckily, there wasn't one!

2) What characteristics of anesthesia are desirable?

Characteristics of anesthesia that are desirable include less than 40% concentration, blocks nerve cells, and that the patient doesn't remember the surgery (only general anesthesia).

3) What characteristics of anesthesia are not desirable?

Characteristics of anesthesia that are not desirable include above 40% concentration and that the patient doesn't wake up after the surgery (only general anesthesia).


1 Calorimeter

8 Cuvettes

Logger Pro (installed on computer)


Food Coloring

8 Graduated Cylinders


Before doing anything, you will have to know how to properly make a concentrated solution. Start with a solvent (H20, 0% concentration) and a solute (food coloring, 100% concentration). With a 100 mL graduated cylinder, take the solute and add the desired amount. In this case, it is 10%. Since 10% of 100 is 10, put 10 mL of food coloring into the grad. cylinder. Fill the rest with the solvent up to the 100 mL mark. You have just created a 10% concentration! Repeat this process for 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, and the mystery percentage.

IMPORTANT: When using graduated cylinders, ALWAYS read measurements from the bottom of the meniscus.


1) After hooking everything up, press the Collect button.

2) Click Keep. In the pop-up box, label it 0%. (Or what ever percentage you are on)

3) The data should be recorded in the program. Remove the cuvette from the calorimeter and dumb the contents down the drain.

4) Insert the next cuvette and repeat steps 2-4.

- Label Aunt Elda's Sample as "?"

5) Press Stop after collecting all the data,

6) To make a line of best fit, press the f(x) key. Pick the best regression model that fits the plotted points.

7) Use the interpolate feature found in the "analyze data" menu to help find the concentration of Aunt Elda's sample.

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Post-Lab Questions:

1) Was the concentration of Aunt Elda's anesthesia too strong?

Yes, the concentration of Aunt Elda's anesthesia was too strong. It was over 40%, which is lethal.

2) If yes, how did that cause her death? If no, do you have a hypothesis for the cause of her death?

The anesthesia caused her death in that she never woke up from the surgery since the concentration was over 40%.

3) How did Beer's Law help you solve this case?

Beer's Law helped us solve the case by using the graph. We were able to determine the point of concentration of her anesthesia.

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