The Experiment

By: Madeleine Langford (first year Ph.D student in chemistry)
Competition Year: 2012
Votes (0) | Comments (0)
< Previous     Next >    
Weigh out your powder in a clean weighing boat
Remember the mass and then make a note
Transfer quantitatively to a round bottomed flask
Be sure not to spill any – it’s an intricate task

Throw in a stirrer bar and then firmly clamp
Place under nitrogen if you don’t want it damp
Pour out some solvent and add this in too
Leave to dissolve while you go for a brew

If it’s not all dissolved you should then heat it gently
But don’t let it boil – watch it intently
A mantle will do but an oil bath’s best
But don’t plug it in without a PAT test

Leave your mixture to stir a little bit more
While you get a condenser out of the drawer
Turn the heat down but only a fraction
To add the next chemical and start a reaction

Set up a reflux and make it secure
You must ask for help if you’re feeling unsure
Heat up to boiling and watch while it’s warming
You might even see some product start forming

Leave a few hours or leave overnight
After you’ve done your safety checks right
Allow it to cool and then vac it dry
Don’t let it bump if the vacuum’s on high

Weigh your crude product, keep a sample to test
The next thing to do is recrystallise the rest
Dissolve in a solvent but not in a lot
Heat up a little, then filter it hot

Cool it once more and leave it to stand
If no crystals appear then give it a hand
Add antisolvent but it needs to be miscible
Keep adding until the product is visible

Leave it a while and stand it aside
The crystals should then be filtered and dried
Your product should now be lovely and pure
So label it up ready to store

Analysis next – elemental, mass spec
NMR, UV-vis – all very high tech
You must check your product’s what you want it to be
And then you can say you’ve done chemistry!
Share this poem:
Register/Login to comment