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Independent Project

Independent Project - Chem 227 Fall 2010 Independent...

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Chem 227 – Fall 2010 Independent Project For your final experiment in this class, you will carry out an independent project. The independent project provides you the opportunity to tackle a “real world” problem and apply your skills at chemical analysis. This project is often students’ favorite assignment and perhaps also the most beneficial one. You may select a problem from the attached list, or you may propose a problem of your own. In either case, I encourage you to pursue a problem of particular interest to you, but it must be cleared with your professor. You may work alone or with a partner. Begin by searching the chemistry literature to get background information on your problem and to help you design an experimental approach. This search does not entail a complete review, but rather only the gleaning of information from two or three reference books or monographs (non-refereed internet sources are not sufficient). In designing your project, you will want to draw on what you learned from previous work, but in the end you should devise your own procedure. Any of the instruments we have used this semester are available to you, plus we can obtain a few other simple devices, or you can build them. Some other instruments in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry can also be scheduled (especially those in the Instrumental Analysis or P-Chem lab), depending on your previous experience. We discourage you from using instruments which belong to a research group. In any case, you must talk to your Chem 227 professor about using a research instrument BEFORE contacting the professor in charge of it. In general, plan your project for 227-level work. An outline of your project plan will be due before the projects are scheduled to begin— BUT you will be best served by turning the plan in early for review. Some time (up to two weeks) may be required to get certain chemicals and equipment, and parts of your plan may need revision. No experimental work is to be done on the projects after the last scheduled day of class. Don’t fail to clean up, or you will get a score of zero! Finally, write a report on what you did and what you found out. As you plan your project, pay attention to sampling (i.e., how to collect your sample so that it is representative of the whole) sample preparation (how to put the analyte into a form where it can be measured; think about any sample sensitivities—does it decompose over time or when exposed to heat or light, is it oxidized by air, is it hygroscopic, is it volatile, etc.) matrix interferences (what other things in the sample interfere will the measurements) In summary, select a problem and get it approved (by November 9 for section 2 or November 10 for section 1) do background literature research
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