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Specialty Chemistry Forums => Chemical Education and Careers => Topic started by: Anduril on November 16, 2020, 03:05:50 PM

Title: Starting doing scientific research
Post by: Anduril on November 16, 2020, 03:05:50 PM
I've just become an undergrad and I'm wondering whether you guys have some tips on how to start doing research. Any particular area that would be rather 'easy' (not sure if that's the right word - you know what I mean) for an overachieving 1st year undergrad?
Stay healthy!
Title: Re: Starting doing scientific research
Post by: NDW on November 17, 2020, 11:18:37 PM
Sounds like you are premed  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Starting doing scientific research
Post by: Mitch on November 18, 2020, 10:13:23 PM
Do you have a professor you like?
Title: Re: Starting doing scientific research
Post by: Enthalpy on March 03, 2021, 08:47:07 AM
I don't know if a complete field is easier, but some topics definitely are.
fill a hot-water bottle with a paraffin (or a wax) instead, melt it. More capacity, constant comfortable temperature, easy, useful. Find and check some convenient means to melt the paraffin.
collect a few alkanes, freeze them to liquid nitrogen temp, measure carefully the density to confirm or infirm the usual odd/even theory. Quickly done, experiments not completely trivial, little theory, make human knowledge progress.
very useful, can bring BIG money, possibly too vast for a student's project, so extract a subproject from it. Like: find a source of cold air, drop the water with simple means, observe if clear ice forms quickly.
purify Ag from Cu and others by vacuum distillation. Economically useful. No trivial setup, nor very difficult.
compact plastic parts made by 3D-printing. Reasonably easy, useful.
Biodegradable lubricants and hydraulic fluids.

Measure the effect of geminal amines N-C-N on the enthalpy of formation, as compared with homologue amines C-C-N and alkanes C-C-C. Buy adamantane and hexamethyl tetramine "hexamine", burn them in a calorimetric bomb, measure accurately, deduce the effect. Repeat with bought CN(C)CN(C)C, CN(C)CC(C)C and CC(C)CC(C)C. Existing data seems inconsistent, and I've seen nothing about the effect of geminal amines, but didn't check the best sources neither.
Measure heats of formation of imines (if not available in the literature) and around
make farnesane from caparrapi oil or nerolidol. Hydrogenation could be slightly dangerous. Make a lab demo.
Try to add Mo to electroformed Ni or NiCo, observe the properties, mechanical and others. Ni is easily electrodeposited, Mo has nearly the same redox potential as Ni and Co, which supposedly helps.
Easy reaction, but harsh conditions and stinky. Check what products and mixes are liquid, comment interesting properties.
Electroform Ag+Cu+Sn+Etc
Find electrically conductive ink, measure the resistance of a line, observe it varies by deformation. Hammer the line, check if the resistance is more constant.

If you want more difficult topics, just tell.
Title: Re: Starting doing scientific research
Post by: Enthalpy on March 05, 2021, 06:01:11 PM
Some more topics...
find alloys of Bi, Sn, In... that keep a low E-modulus but are hard, to make high pitched percussion instruments. etc
colour a (candle...) flame. Mind the toxicity.
reduce iron ore represented by Fe2O3 to FeO using concentrated sunlight. Save 1/3 CO2 emissions, save transported weight. Good for Australia. and around
deposit a liner of Sn, Ni... on Li to be used as a bathyscaphe float. and around
synthesis step to 1,2-diazetidines. Beware the toxicity! Check hydrazines with ethylene oxide (dibromoethane works). (2,2) photoaddition of imines?
Check if (2,2) photoaddition gives azetidine, similarly to cyclobutane.