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This on-line learning module introduces students to Beer’s law with particular attention to the relationships between absorbance, transmittance, and power, and to the fundamental, instrumental, and chemical limitations inherent in the application of Beer’s law. The learning module consists of seven investigations:

Investigation 1: Recalling Beer’s Law
Investigation 2: Absorbance Spectra
Investigation 3: Calibration Curves
Investigation 4: Fundamental Limitation to Beer’s Law
Investigation 5: Instrumental Limitation to Beer’s Law: Polychromatic Radiation
Investigation 6: Instrumental Limitation to Beer’s Law: Stray Radiation
Investigation 7: Chemical Limitation to Beer’s Law

In the first three investigations, students develop an appreciation for the mathematical form of Beer’s law and its application to quantitative analysis. In the last four investigations, students explore the fundamental, instrumental, and chemical limitations to Beer’s law and consider how to manage these limitations.


Table of Contents

Note on accessing the learning module.

This learning module is programmed in R (link) using the Shiny (link) package to produce an interactive web-based application. The preferred method for using the application is to run it from within an R session using Shiny by entering


into the console. To download R and Shiny, see the links above. To view and/or fork the code, visit the application’s Github (link) repository.

To access the application without the need for a local installation of R, visit the version hosted at (link); however, access to the hosted version may be limited during periods of high demand.

The list of links to place below this statement is:

  • Hosted Version (link)
  • Github Code (link)
  • Instructor’s Guide (pdf)
  • Assessment Questions: For Assessment questions that accompany this module, please contact David Harvey (

Developed by:

Dr. David Harvey
DePauw University

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