Anatomy of a Reaction
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You have identified (or have been given) an experiment to carry out. You have
this reaction before, and you want to be sure that your experiment is
Sometimes it will be
Either way, the steps to follow are outlined below.
A Perfect Reaction, and sometimes
it will be a A Nightmare Scenario.
Research into Literature Precedent
Finding model procedures (recipes) in the literature for the experiment.
Reading about previous work on similar systems and understanding findings
reported by other researchers.
Planning and Strategy
Making a series of decisions before beginning the experiment.
The Setup ::: Setup Mistakes
Preparing the field of battle: calculations, equipment and apparatus, reactants,
The Reaction: Analysis I ::: Reaction Mistakes
Running the reaction, from start to quench. Monitoring reaction progress.
The Quench ::: Reaction Mistakes
Bringing the chemical activity to a halt.
The Workup ::: Workup Mistakes
Cleaning up the battle scene: separating products from reagents and solvent.
Diagnosis: Analysis II ::: Chromatography Mistakes : Spectroscopy Mistakes
Inspecting the product mixture and deciding how to proceed.
Purification ::: Chromatography Mistakes : Distillation Mistakes
Isolating each component of the product mixture and removing impurities.
Characterization ::: Spectroscopy Mistakes
Obtaining spectral data and identifying the products of the reaction.
Record-keeping ::: Record-keeping Mistakes
Recoding details of the experiment for future reference.