Chemistry in the Operating Room

Beers Law Lab: Anesthesia

Before the Fun Begins

Personal Experiences with Anesthesia

I have never personally experienced Anesthesia, however I foresee an experience when my wisdom teeth are removed,


What makes Anesthesia so great?


The desirable characteristics of Anesthesia are being able to go through an operation without any pain and only minor side effects.


What makes Anesthesia not so great?


The undesirable characteristics of Anesthesia are nausea and pain side effects,

The Set Up

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Observations and Explanations

The above table shows the absorbance and transmittance of the provided standard solutions. With these results, we can determine if Aunt Elda's death was caused by an over-dosage of Anesthesia or other effects. The normal amount of anesthesia used for putting patients under during surgery is less than 40%.

Why won't Aunt Elda wake up?

The graph below shows the absorbance of the standard solutions. In order to be safe for putting patients under, the anesthesia concentration must have an absorbance of less than 0.340. Aunt Elda's anesthesia was found to have an absorbance of 0.456. This concludes that Aunt Elda experienced more than a 50% concentration level of anesthesia, much too high to be safe,
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How exactly did Aunt Elda die?

According to http://healthland.time.com/2011/08/04/under-the-knife-study-shows-rising-death-rates-from-general-anesthesia/, "To begin anesthesia, a high dose of anesthetic is required that usually sends a patient’s blood pressure plummeting downward. Everybody reacts differently, however, and not always as expected. "It can sometimes be extremely difficult to estimate how much anesthetic to administer to an overweight patient,” Dr. André Gottschalk, author of the study and acting director of the Clinic for Anesthesiology, Intensive Medicine and Pain Therapy at Bochum’s university hospital, explains. He notes that an overdose can lead to rapid decline in blood pressure and requires immediate administration of drugs to raise blood pressure."

There is a possibility that it was hard to estimate the correct dosage of anesthesia to Aunt Elda and her blood pressure dropped and could not be sustained causing death.

Beer's Law?

We do know that Beer's Law is A= Ebc, but what exactly does that mean?


According to http://teaching.shu.ac.uk/hwb/chemistry/tutorials/molspec/beers1.htm, E is the molar absorbtivity, b is the path length of the cuvette in which the sample is contained, and c is the concentration of the compound in solution. With this, we can discover what exactly the concentration of Aunt Elda's solution is.

Make your Own Solution!

In case you ever run into trouble and forget how to make a solution, below are step by step instructions to make a two part solution.


Bubble Recipe

80% Water (Solvent)

20% Soap (Solute)


This is an 8:2 recipe solvent to solute. Today, we'll make a 10 mL solution.

Because this is an 8:2 solution, there will be 8 parts water and 2 parts soap. This will require 8 mL of water and 2 mL of soap.

That completes instructions to making your very own two part solution, and you can even have some fun after!