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CHE 230: Chemical Analysis

This guide includes resources helpful to students working on the CHE 230 Library Assignment

General Assignment Overview

Cartoon of Pusheen cat with the following text: Pusheen the cat making some chemistry. That cat is not wearing safety googles, he hasn't even bothered to clean up that spilled solvent, and he si holding that Erienmeyer flask way to close to his face.  Pusheen the Cat, more like Pusheen the limits of lab safety

Image Source: 2014. Memebase.

For the research project, students working in pairs will choose to analyze one particular analyte in one particular matrix.  A statistical comparison must be made of either two different analytical techniques or two different sample preparation techniques for the same analysis (or another relevant statistical comparison). 

A formal write-up of the project and a poster presentation will be used to evaluate the work. 

Methods available:

  • Wet chemical techniques (titration, gravimetric analysis, etc.)
  • Instrumentation (GC, GC-MS, UV-VIS, fluorescence, AA, HPLC)
  • Sample preparation (extraction, digestion, sonication:  hot plate, microwave, sonicator)

Possible matrices:

  • Environmental samples
  • Food products
  • Personal care products
  • Home, kitchen, or office materials
  • You name it!

Possible analytes:

  • Metals (iron, lead, aluminum, copper, etc.)
  • Organic compounds (triclosan, phthalates, BPA, etc.)
  • Ions (phosphates, nitrates, sulfates, etc.)
  • Misc. (saturated fat, carbohydrates, proteins, etc.)

You will be creating both a poster and a paper (which is the final lab report of the semester).  See your assignment for details.

Project Outline Details

Your project proposal should outline:

  • Analyte of interest
  • Matrix to be analyzed
  • Experimental protocol – are you comparing two sample prep techniques or two analysis techniques?  What is your hypothesis?
  • Experimental details
    • all reagents, supplies, equipment, instrumentation needed
    • number of replicates for statistical analysis
    • sampling of matrix & sample size
    • sample preparation (Do you have to grind sample?  Extract analyte?)
    • detailed procedure (bulleted form ok)
    • standard preparation, calibration
  • Reference value for comparison (so you know what concentration to expect)
  • Analysis of safety and safety precautions
  • References (using standard guidelines, MLA, ACS, etc.)

Note:  it is highly recommended that you talk to Dr. Wilson about your ideas before writing the outline.  She can help you understand if your idea is feasible, what time considerations there are, potential roadblocks, etc.