Laboratory Chemistry

Course Info

Course Number/Code: 5.31 (Spring 2003)
Course Title: Laboratory Chemistry
Course Level: Undergraduate
Offered By: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Department: Chemistry
Course Instructor(s): Dr. Janet Schrenk

Laboratory Director:
Dr. Mircea Gheorghiu
Course Introduction:
Syllabus Course Overview  5.310 is a 12 unit class which introduces experimental chemistry for students who are not majoring in chemistry. The course covers principles and applications of chemical laboratory techniques, including preparation and analysis of chemical materials, measurement of pH, gas and liquid chromatography, visible-ultraviolet spectrophotometry, infrared spectroscopy, kinetics, data analysis, and elementary synthesis. Enrollment is limited. Students gain experience by completing the five experiments detailed below. Format In this course, students are divided into four groups for the laboratory experiments. To accommodate this, there are two concurrent offerings of the course, one that meets on Mondays and Wednesdays and one that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The content for both offerings is the same. Students are potentially prevented from doing some of the experiments if the instructors believe that the students are unprepared because of absence from a lecture pertinent to that experiment. Experiments EXPERIMENTSDESCRIPTIONUnknown Amino AcidIn this experiment, the student is given an "unknown" amino acid and asked to identify it using several procedures. This introduces several basic manipulative techniques of preparative chemistry and quantitative volumetric analysis including preparation and characterization of a derivative, recrystallization, determination of equivalent weight by using titration and determination of melting points.FerroceneThis experiment involves the synthesis of ferrocene a relatively simple organometallic compound followed by preparation of a ferrocene derivative. In addition to execution of a reaction under an inert atmosphere, this experiment also introduces thin-layer chromatography as an analytical tool and both column-chromatography and sublimation as means of purification.Essential OilsThis experiment involves the separation and characterization of the major components found in either caraway oil or spearmint oil. These two oils each contain limonene and carvone, but each oil contains a different isomer of these chiral compounds. During the course of the experiment, the student will be exposed to fractional distillation under vacuum, gas chromatography, refractometry, polarimetry, and IR absorption spectroscopy.Potentiometric TitrationIn this experiment, the student is given a mixture of a strong monoprotic acid and a weak polyprotic acid. A standardized base solution is prepared and then potentiometric titrations are performed. The resulting data are used to determine the molar concentrations of the two acids and the second pKa value for the polyprotic acid.KineticsThis is an integrated experiment comprising topics from inorganic, organic, analytical, physical, and computational chemistry. It introduces the student to some of the basics of acquiring kinetic data, manipulating the data to extract information such as reaction order and rate constants, and how to assess the catalytic effect of the reaction environment upon rate constants.


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