Chem 227 – Fall 2010
For your final experiment in this class, you will carry out an independent project.
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).
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
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
We discourage you from using instruments which belong to a research
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
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
No experimental work is to be done on the projects after the last scheduled day of
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)
select a problem and get it approved (by November 9 for section 2 or November 10 for
do background literature research
design a project plan, and submit it to your professor (by November 15