Virtual Chemistry and Simulations

Two students working on an tablet


Chemistry moves from the lab and the classroom to the computer, as working in a virtual chemistry laboratory and viewing simulations provide additional ways of learning chemistry.

  • PhET Interactive Simulations
    PhET, based at the University of Colorado at Boulder, offers over three dozen chemistry-based simulations. Users can search by subject and grade level. Many have been translated into different languages.
  • Chemistry Solutions: Featured Simulations
    Each issue of Chemistry Solutions, the periodical of the American Association of Chemistry Teachers, contains a simulation. This page collects and describes simulations from past issues.
  • MERLOT Simulation Collection
    The Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) at the California State University has collected descriptions and links to a huge number of simulations, with peer review ratings and comments, and information on their appropriateness for various levels.
  • ChemCollective
    The ChemCollective, organized by a group from Carnegie Mellon, shares virtual labs, simulations, and molecular level visualizations for chemistry.
  • Mixed Reception
    This ChemCollective activity might be described as a murder mystery for chemistry students. Students can “interview” suspects by viewing videos, investigate the crime scene using images, and analyze evidence from the crime lab.
  • ChemReaX
    Users can model and simulate chemical reactions, focusing on thermodynamics, equilibrium, kinetics, and acid–base titrations. It is designed for Advanced Placement high school and undergraduate students and teachers.
  • Molecular Workbench
    The Molecular Workbench offers simulations in multiple sciences, along with tools for both teachers and students to create their own simulations. Teachers can also create their own curriculum modules with embedded simulations.
  • Chemistry Experiment Simulations and Conceptual Computer Animations
    Iowa State University’s Professor Tom Greenbowe shares many simulations and animations in ten major areas of chemistry, such as gas laws, stoichiometry, kinetics, and more.
  • Virtual Chemistry Experiments
    Professor David N. Blauch of Davidson College presents several interactive experiment simulations on topics such as equilibrium, kinetics, crystal structure, phase changes, gases, and more.
  • General Chemistry Interactive Simulations
    This page, maintained by chemistry professor William Vining, has simulations that cover a wide range of chemistry concepts, keyed to chapters in a general chemistry text.
  • Electrolyte Solution Simulation
    A version of an electrolyte solution simulation from John Wiley and Sons is available at the General Chemistry Online! page. It allows the user to select different cations and anions. Data can be logged and downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Simulations for Chemistry
    Professor Gary L. Bertrand’s (University of Missouri–Rolla) page offers many simulated experiments, such as “The Case of the Five Droppers,” a virtual presentation of five reagents being mixed in different ways to produce various precipitates and gas bubbles, and a coffee cup calorimeter activity.
  • Virtual Laboratory: Ideal Gas Law
    A virtual lab from the University of Oregon allows one to perform three experiments. The user controls the action of a piston in a pressure chamber filled with an ideal gas, illustrating relationships between temperature, volume, pressure, and molecular weight.

Youtube ID: uRnWjNgWu-k

(all sites accessed October 2016)