The Department of Chemistry at Lycoming emphasizes hands-on use of instrumentation by students from the first semester of General Chemistry on up.  As a student progresses through our curriculum, their interaction with the instruments becomes more sophisticated. The goal is to have the students:  (1) know which instrumental techniques are appropriate for a given problem; (2) know how to exploit the full capabilities of each instrument; and (3) be able to interpret the results.   As a complement to that, we believe that the learning of chemistry can be enhanced significantly by lab projects that emphasize chemical problem solving.  We have found that this type of discovery-based learning is much more meaningful  than the traditional experiment which either illustrates a topic under discussion in the lecture portion of the course, or involves the synthesis of some useful compound.  Ideally a discovery-based experiment should:  (1) require that students use multiple, complementary experimental techniques; (2) foster critical thinking skills; and (3) promote significant interaction among students and between students and instructor.  Investigational experiments also better illustrate how chemical problems are approached in academic and industrial research settings.  Data gathered by students in their investigative labs are used to initiate subsequent classroom discussion of these ideas.  We also, of course, take advantage of our instrumentation in our extensive chemical research program.

There are two main types of instrumentation: spectroscopic - involving interaction of the sample molecule with some part of the electromagnetic spectrum; and separation - involving purification and analysis of mixtures.  Our key pieces of modern chemical instrumentation include:

300 MHz Bruker Avance Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectrometer; *

Thermo Electron IR100 Fourier-Transform Infrared (IR) Spectrometer; *

Thermo Polaris Q Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS); *

Cary 50 Bio Ultraviolet-Visible (UV-VIS) Spectrometer; *

MBraun Labmaster 130 Glovebox; *

Hewlett-Packard Capillary Gas Chromatograph (GC);

Waters 510/991 High-Pressure Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC).

Perkin Elmer 373 Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AA).

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Last updated September 13, 2007. *This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No.9850423, 0087767, and 0116502
The URL for this page is http://www.lycoming.edu/chemistrydept/tour/inst1.htm