I'm a first-year in university and we have to carry out a "measurement" project next term. I'm fascinated by coordination chemistry (though I haven't taken the course yet), and while our equipment list is pretty limited it does include a thin-layer chromatography setup (and a colorimeter & a pH probe, which I would love to use if there was a way).

I was thinking of using TLC to look at the stability of different complexes (either different ligands or central metals), similar to the experiments in these papers:

However, I'm struggling to come up with examples of complexes that can be made easily (without a fume hood) and inexpensively. I'm not very knowledgable about this topic so I apologize if this is a bad question, I was just wondering if this seemed like a feasible yet worthwhile project given constraints in equipment/money and my knowledge. In previous years, people have mostly done biology or physics related projects so I'm a little doubtful if this idea—in particular, synthesizing a variety of complexes—is realistic. I'd appreciate any advice, specific or general! Thanks!

  • $\begingroup$ Ferrocene and acetyl ferrocene are the archetypal undergraduate examples. $\endgroup$ – NotEvans. Dec 28 '16 at 1:14
  • $\begingroup$ @NotWoodward Thank you! I think we have those in our labs for the 2nd year student. I'm a little worried that it wouldn't be considered "novel", is there anyway to modify the project slightly? $\endgroup$ – coffeecake Dec 28 '16 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ You can replace iron with various other metals? There are many complexes you could buy/make really. I'm not sure the whole idea is novel anyway, nor would novel really be expected for an undergraduate. $\endgroup$ – NotEvans. Dec 28 '16 at 1:33
  • $\begingroup$ @NotWoodward Thanks so much! Haha it definitely isn't a novel idea by any means, but "novel" was in the project description so I guess I'll try. $\endgroup$ – coffeecake Dec 28 '16 at 1:38