Today I finally mustered the courage to go and talk to the director of the labs to politely ask him if I could use the labs out of class hours. Long story short, our lab sessions "are bad" because we are given a protocol, and like babies we just need to follow it. No brainer, and I am against that. So I got permission to use the lab for experiments that don't pose a mayor risk, as well as a slight restriction of the reagents.

I'm not sure of which reagents we have in the lab, but there aren't that many there. So, now to the point. I was hoping that you could tell me which experiments I should try. I came up with the idea when we worked with ferric ammonia ferrocyanide $[Fe(CN)_6][Fe(NH_4)_2]$ and I had to balance the chemical equation of the reaction that we used. However, I had no idea of what the byproducts where, because I had no way to test for their presence! My idea is to bring an hypothesis and then, starting pretty much from scratch (except reference tables or such) prove or disprove it.

Could you share a nice example of something I could test in the lab? If not, where can I find stuff that I can work with, without getting the answer right out of where I got the info. Did I get to express my idea correctly? More or less?

Thanks for the help!

P.s.: I kindly asked a professor to supervise my work, so I would get help regarding methodology.


closed as too broad by hBy2Py, NotEvans., Todd Minehardt, Jon Custer, pentavalentcarbon Jun 12 '17 at 21:16

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    $\begingroup$ > like babies we just need to follow it. No brainer, and I am against that - Sounds like you should get yourself involved with a research group. Many groups may have spots open for temp. work or summer positions. If you are an undergraduate, look into summer REU programs. $\endgroup$ – LordStryker Feb 12 '14 at 15:15
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    $\begingroup$ Please keep in mind, that the labs should make you comfortable with common experimental procedures. For this there are protocols, which are known to work that well, that even untrained student is able to achieve their goal. It is difficult to think of what to do, what method to use, which glassware to use, how to heat, how to put another chemical in, if it is moisture sensitive, etc... You should acquire such skills step by step, so please follow the no brainer for a while, to let your hands and eyes learn the tools. $\endgroup$ – ssavec Feb 13 '14 at 12:45

The classic text. Set them up, come back in a few weeks. (Potentially any gel - polyacrylamide, agarose, agar, gelatin...) Meanwhile,

The Prussian Blue prep works across the transition metals, with different colors. Alas, it is not crystalline (but maybe in gel...). Vanadium oxidation states are a spectrum of colors. Vanadyl, V=O, is especially fine (but not as a food supplement).

Cobalt can be preparatively more fun than iron. Co(II) is substitution labile - put anything on it you want, in real time. Co(III) is substitution inert. Anything you put on Co(II) then oxidize to Co(III) stays forever (absent a trace of reducing agent to reopen the door). There is vast and colorful Co coordination chemistry.

Everything in there works to spec. Fine some interesting things to do (and scale down to grams).

Cobalt sepulcrate and especially sarcophogate (Alan Sargeson)!
Tris(ethylenediamine)cobalt(III) is a propeller, left- or right handed. It can be resolved afterward (Inorg. Syn. 6 186 (1960)) or made entirely as one hand. Net charge is 3+. Tris(oxalato)cobaltate(III) is a propeller, left- or right handed. It can be resolved afterward (Inorg. Syn. 8 204 (1966)) or made entirely as one hand. Net charge is 3-. Tris(ethylenediamine)cobalt(III) tris(oxalato)cobaltate(III) as a salt with same or opposite hands could be interesting. The crystal will certainly be tightly bound.

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    $\begingroup$ Walking through the oxidation states of vanadium is a great idea! $\endgroup$ – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha Mar 23 '14 at 8:42

You can try this manual. The manual is used at ICT Prague as a guide for students during inorganic laboratory exercise. The description of experiments is described there with The description of lab. equipment needed for the experiments.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you recommend any experiments directly related to the OP's area of interest? $\endgroup$ – jonsca Feb 16 '14 at 12:42

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