Special Sub-Topic: Fun with Organic
|This is a common procedure used to separate organic compounds and to monitor a reaction's progress. It's also used to determine solvent systems for purification on a column. An organic chemist armed with a pencil, a chamber containing organic solvent, and a special plate can perform this easily.|
Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC). TLC is an extremely powerful tool for separating mixtures. In fact, black ink developed in a TLC chamber containing a polar solvent such as ethanol will easily separate into the various colors it contains. Try it at home! Color a thin line with any color marker on the outside of a coffee filter starting about 2 cm from the edge. Fold the coffee filter in half a few times until it resembles a piece of pie. Next, put enough water into a small container so that it is about 2 cm high. Place the coffee filter point up in the glass and wait. The water will slowly travel up the coffee filter and take some of the colors contained in the marker with it. Hang it up to dry and you're done!
|This type of spectroscopy is mainly used to tell functional groups within a compound. Older versions require special salt plates, but newer technology has made them obsolete. The "fingerprint region" in the readout is only useful for those who have studied this method extensively, and isn't very useful for beginners. |
Infrared Spectroscopy (IR). This method is great for detecting alcohols, carboxylic acids, and other carbonyl containing compounds.
|This is a polar solvent used mainly to clean glassware since it dissolves things that soap and water cannot. It's such a good solvent, that it is sometimes used as the active ingredient in nail polish remover.|
acetone. Acetone is found naturally in the environment, including some small amounts in the human body!
|This noble gas is used in the practice of organic chemistry when reactions need to be kept dry and out of the atmosphere. |
argon. People also use nitrogen gas for the same purpose because it is cheaper than argon.
|This is a polar solvent and also the intoxicating chemical compound in vodka, rum, wine, beer, etc.|
ethanol. Ethanol is added to gasoline because it burns cleaner than gas.
|This organic compound is often used to azeotrope water out of a solution. This is done by boiling the mixture or removing the mixture of solvents under vaccuum. The water will come off easier with this solvent even though they have different boiling points because they form this special mixture. It is a good solvent made up only of hydrogen and carbon. It is also used as an octane booster in gasoline.|
toluene. Toluene is also known as methylbenzene and phenylmethane. It is also used as an inhalant for its intoxicating properties.
|This compound is used in organic synthesis as a base, most often in the preparation of esters and amides from acyl chlorides. It is also the active ingredient in FlyNap, a chemical used to anesthetize a type of fly.|
triethylamine. Triethylamine has a pungent, fishy odor and can be blamed for the smell of the hawthorn plant.
|All of the isotopes below can be seen using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) except:|
Nitrogen-7. H-1 and C-13 NMR are the most commonly used in organic chemistry.
|During a synthetic scheme, it is often necessary to protect a functional group to prevent unwanted reactions. Althugh there are many protecting groups available, this element often appears in protecting groups. Its affinity for fluorine allows it to be removed easily. |
silicon. Silicon is also in sand and is the second most abundant element in the earth's crust.
|Refluxing or boiling a reaction in any solvent requires this kind of special glassware to prevent the solvent from evaporating and causing the reaction to dry out. |
condenser. Condensers have a special outer wall with outlets to allow running water to flow through and keep it cool.
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