Monthly Archives: March 2010

Clamps! Or a Clamp-like Device

This week we distilled ethanol from the fermented rice/corn/potato mash that we prepared the week before. The main challenge in distillations is the complex set up involving many pieces of glassware and apparatus. Clamping glassware and various objects to a ring stand or ring stands can be quite and ordeal. The first issue is: 1) […]

Sliding Down the Slippery Soap

Our fourth experiment of the year in introduction to organic chemistry was making soap. This is a fun and practical experiment that involves some good chemical principles. The students could vary the composition of their soap by mixing lard or vegetable shortening with olive, corn, or coconut oil. For each combination the appropriate amount of […]

Know Your Unknowns

The third laboratory of the semester in introduction to organic chemistry lab, we did a simple liquid-liquid extraction that was basically a scaled down version of the lab that I have been doing in majors organic chemistry. The procedure separated a nonpolar compound (biphenyl or camphor) from an organic acid (benzoic or cinnamic acid). I […]