Photo: Pre-Med sophomore Matilde Meyenburg prepares to test the reactivity of butanol. (Photo by Jessica Crabtree)
Story by Jessica Crabtree
Throughout the semester, the General Chemistry II class has had the opportunity to participate in many interesting labs.
On one of the first days of lab, students were able to create different colorless odors, or “esters.” Some of the odors they created were orange, banana, and pear. They made these odors by mixing acid and alcohol. Students had to pay close attention to temperature and time as they heated the esters.
For their second lab, students mixed together three things to create a yellow dye that is used in sunscreen.
Students also made nylon string by mixing adipoyl chloride and hexamethylenediamine.
For a two-part lab, students tested the relative reactivity of butanols by racing reactions. Students first drew a model of each molecule they tested, then used a molecular model set to build the structure of the molecule. For the first day, a reaction was revealed when it turned from orange to green. The reaction was revealed when it turned from purple to brown on the second day. If the color did not change, there was no reaction.
Another lab students performed was separating color pigment molecules using M&M’s. Students used water to separate the color coating from the candy, then used a toothpick to place the color on chromatography paper. The paper absorbs the water and separates the molecules into different pigment molecules. Students discovered that brown M&M’s are the worst because they contain three different color pigments, where green M&M’s are the best because they only contain one color pigment.
Pre-Vet junior Twyla M. Reid said she enjoys the Chem II labs because “they give you hands-on learning experience working with what is taught in lectures.” She also said that you have more freedom in Chem II labs than in Chem I because students already have the basic skills so they can “really start to apply knowledge with experiments.”
The Chemistry II course is instructed by Chemistry Professor Stephen Patton. Chemistry II students can look forward to more interesting labs as the semester reaches the halfway point.
Photo below: One of the models that students made using the molecular model set during the testing of the reactivity of butanol. (Photo by Jessica Crabtree)