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CHE 230: Chemical Analysis: Project Overview

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

Where to Start

Read the assignment carefully, and refer back often to review requirements and guidelines.

Then, visit the the Doing Your Research tab in this guide for links to resources and lots of research tips. 


Turn in library assignment

Your Research Project Outline is due by March 23th (see Project Outline Details box for more information).

Three lab periods will be dedicated to the research project. But your project may take additional time, so keep that in mind! 

The poster presentation and formal reports are due by May 7th Public poster presentations: 10:00-11:30

Research Project Guidelines

For the full document including all project due dates and guidelines, open the Word document included in this box.

General Assignment Overview

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).  Three laboratory periods will be given to complete the project.  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:

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

Possible analytes:

  • Metals (iron, lead, aluminum, copper, etc.)
  • Organic compounds (caffeine, aspirin, vitamin C, etc.)
  • Ions (phosphates, nitrates, sulfates, etc.)
  • Misc. (saturated fat, carbohydrates, proteins, etc.)

Project Outline Details

Your project proposal outline should include:

  • 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 or 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)
  • 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.