Chemistry AP

Chat times for 2017-2018
10:30am-noon ET/7:30am-9:00am PT

Dr. Christe Ann McMenomy

Laboratory Requirements and Equipment


Completion of ten specific labs is required for students taking only the Core Course. A set of eighteen labs will be required for students taking the Core + AP Option combination course.

All labs for credit must be completed by the close of the school year in June, unless you make special arrangements with the instructor.

Lab assignments will be available from the web site at the start of the year. Most labs will be associated with specific topics, and you are encouraged to complete the lab and send in the report during during the assignment period. You make make arrangements to complete the other labs out of sequence if you have trouble obtaining equipment.

IMPORTANT! For safety reasons, both you and your parents must read the safety procedures before starting the lab sequence. Your parents must sign and send a copy of the lab permission letter to me before I can accept any lab reports from you for credit.

Lab Equipment

Core Course only students should be able to perform most labs with only some special equipment (thermometers, test tubes or beakers, heating plates) and some purchased chemicals. Most Core Chemistry labs can be done with household materials. Students performing only the Core labs will generally find it less expensive to obtain materials on a lab by lab basis.

AP Option Students: The AP lab requirements are more extensive, and require both significant equipment and chemicals for completion. I highly recommend the CK01A Chemistry kit listed at The Home Scientist, LLC, which includes all the equipment and chemicals required for the AP Labs in the Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments, except for a good lab gram scale, which you will need to purchase separately.

The Home Chemistry Lab: Minimum Requirements

This equipment list includes standard chemistry lab equipment for a minimal home chemistry lab that should allow you to complete at least one alternative form each lab; we will also be using more generally available household items for many of the labs. If you cannot afford the Chemistry Kit listed above from the Home Scientist, you may be able to complete sufficient labs for Honors credit with the equipment listed below. Note that many pieces have perfectly adequate substitutes in items you probably have in your house already. You will need to calibrate appropriately all substitute equipment. You may use any convenient units so long as you are consistent and willing to do the math to convert to SI (metric) units when necessary. When substituting household items for standard equipment, make certain that the substitute meets safety requirements: glass should be used instead of plastic, to avoid problems with acids or solvents, and any container used for heating should be rated to withstand the heat.

In addition to the equipment listed below, many labs will use common household items, such as paper, pens, rulers, cups or jars, food samples, cleaning solutions, plastic bags, etc. These will be listed in the equipment section of the individual labs.

Standard Chemistry Equipment list

  • -10 to 110 Centigrade thermometer. No substitute. Centigrade thermometers are available for under $5 from several of the sources listed below.
  • 10 ml graduated cylinder. This is necessary for measuring liquids we will be using. Substitute: a tall, thin glass jar, such as an olive jar; calibrate in convenient units and mark.
  • 50 and 200 ml beakers. Substitute: canning jars or Pyrex which can be safely heated on a hot plate; calibrate in convenient units and mark. Baby food jars are good for 50-100 ml.
  • 125 ml and 500 ml Erlenmeyer flasks. These are used for mixing liquids and have narrow necks to prevent spills. Substitute: narrow-neck bottles (like Juice Squeeze or Snapple).
  • at least 3 test tubes, 75 mm X 10 mm and 6 test tubes, 100 mm X 13 mm. If you can only get one kind, get the larger ones. They should be borosilicate glass capable of being heated over flame, such as chinex, kimex or Pyrex. No substitute: test tubes are relatively inexpensive ( $2-$3 for sets of 3-5 tubes); please buy these and don\'t try to substitute household glass containers for them.
  • watch glass. Substitute: a shallow clear glass or plastic container which covers your beaker. This is used to collect vapors when heating liquids.
  • 4 mm glass tubing, about 50 cm total. These will be used in one- and two- hole corks with vinyl or rubber tubing to connect test tubes. Substitute: small glass eyedropper, or nylon spacers.
  • pH sticks (I will supply these gratis).
  • pipette and bulb. Substitute: glass eyedropper and bulb.
  • test tube holder. Substitute: make holder out of heavy wire (like a coat hanger). Be sure whatever you use holds the test tube firmly and won\'t melt in heat. You will need to use it when heating chemicals in the tube over a flame.
  • test tube clamp and stand, used to hold tube in position over heat source. Substitute: anything which will hold a tube tightly so that the bottom of the tube clears your heat source.
  • test tube rack. Substitute: a wide glass jar can be used if a single test tube will stand upright with enough tube above the jar so that you can grab it easily with your holder, and still not spill.
  • funnel for filtering and pouring liquids into the test tubes (the narrow end of the funnel must fit in your smallest test tube).
  • vinyl or rubber tubing, approximately 4\' feet. No substitute, but this is inexpensive at most hardware stores.
  • bottle brushes for cleaning your glassware.
  • test tube stoppers (cork or rubber): no-hole, one-hole and two-hole. You can use a cork borer to cut holes in any cork which fits your test tubes.
  • heat source for heating beakers. A hot plate works well for moderate temperatures; be sure that the cord is out of the way of your chemicals. If you heat your beakers over a flame, use a stand which allows you to place a screen or an asbestos pad between the beaker and the flame. Also use an asbestos pad if heating your beaker on an electric or gas stove.
  • heat source for heating test tubes. A candle or alcohol lamp both work fine for our purposes. Be sure that any candle you use is firmly seated in its stand and doesn\'t drip hot wax where you can get burned or mark your work surface. If you use an alcohol lamp, be sure that the bottle is short and small, and only fill it half full of alcohol.
  • In addition to the standard lab equipment, we will occasionally need other household items (for example, a Styrofoam cup and straws for the calorimetry lab).

Household chemicals

The following chemicals can be found around the house or purchased at your local grocery or drug store.

Chemical Formula Common name Source
Acetic acid CH3COOH White vinegar Grocery
Acetone CH3COCH3 Acetone Hardware (paints)
Acetyl salicylic acid ==== Aspirin Grocery
Aluminum Al Aluminum Foil Grocery
Aluminum sulfate Al2(SO4)3 Aluminum Alum Drug store
Ammonium chloride  NH4Cl Sal Ammoniac Drug store
Ammonium hydroxide NH4OH Ammonia Grocery
Boric acid H3Bo3 Boric acid eye wash Drug store
Calcium chloride CaCl2 Ice melt Hardware
Calcium carbonate CaCO3 Chalk Drug store
Dextrose C6H12O6 Corn syrup Grocery
Ethyl alcohol C2H5OH Ethyl alcohol Drug store
Hydrogen peroxide H2 O2 Peroxide Drug store (3% solution)
Isopropyl alcohol (CH3)2 CHOH Rubbing alcohol Drug store (70% or 99%)
Magnesium sulfate MgSO * 7H2O4 Epsom salts Drug store
Sodium bicarbonate NaHCO3 Baking soda Grocery
Sodium carbonate Na2HCO3 Washing soda Grocery
Sodium chloride
Table salt Grocery
Sodium hydroxide NaOH Lye Grocery
Sodium hypochlorate NaOCl Chlorine bleach Grocery
Sodium tetraborate Na2B4O7 Borax Grocery
Sucrose C12H22O11 Table sugar Grocery

Other useful supplies/considerations

  • A large GLASS container for wastes. Flush these down the toilet after you conclude your experiments.
  • A good work surface that can withstand damaging spills. Masonite or Formica generally are resistant but may stain. Painted plywood will also work.
  • Use distilled water when water is called for, so that trace metals and chorine do not affect the results of your experiment. [Filters such as Pür will remove chlorine but may not remove all minerals.]

Review this list frequently. If you have any questions about sources or substitutes for equipment, contact mebefore continuing.


Lab equipment may be borrowed from schools or purchased. Sometimes local college bookstores or medical schools carry dissection kits; staining kits and other supplies are often available from educational toy stores and science museums. You may also want to check my growing list of mail order suppliers.' ;