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Topic: Year-long Undergraduate Physical/Inorganic Chemistry Research Project  (Read 5840 times)

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Offline SethTales91

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Hello,

New member here, looking to get some general advice.

I go to a university that does things a bit differently. We take 16 credit programs, some of which are year-long sequences. This upcoming school year, October-June, I am taking a three quarter program that essentially encompasses the second year of a chemistry major. The program will cover Thermodynamics, Kinetics, Quantum Mechanics, Advanced Inorganic, Materials Science and has a strong independent project component.

I am writing this post in an effort to get some ideas about independent projects, just to get my mental juices flowing. The parameters of the project are pretty broad. It could be something involving anything covered in the topics I mentioned above.

This is where my problem originates. The parameters are just so broad, I don't know where to start. My areas of interest include heavy metals, toxicology, supramolecular chemistry, chemical biology and analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry and alternative energy.

The project will involve grant writing, experimental design, instrumentation, as well as oral and written presentation. This is my final year in university, and I want to undertake a succesful and potentially publishable project. If approached properly, I could have a few hundred to few thousand dollar budget. (Grants from a committe at my university)

So here is what I am asking of the community: what are some general project ideas that could be undertaken by a second year chemistry student in approximately 9 months, based on my above areas of interest and the program description?

What are the big questions being asked in physical and inorganic chemistry?

Should I do more of an analytical project, or an experimental one?

Are there any resources that you know of that could help me in my decision?

I have been pondering these questions myself for a few weeks now, but could really use the collective input of this community to help me make a more informed and effective decision.

Thanks for the input,

Seth

Offline Enthalpy

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Offline curiouscat

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Re: Year-long Undergraduate Physical/Inorganic Chemistry Research Project
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2013, 08:26:40 AM »

The project will involve grant writing, experimental design, instrumentation, as well as oral and written presentation. This is my final year in university, and I want to undertake a succesful and potentially publishable project. If approached properly, I could have a few hundred to few thousand dollar budget.


Your budget might make it hard to buy any substantial instruments or chemicals. That'll take some creative thinking, unless you can get access  to a pre-existing instrument / chemicals in a lab.

A simulation / computer project is a workaround. Lots of interesting ideas. But there it's too easy to get carried away by cool pictures and not produce anything realistically useful.

If you have interest, you code code a piece of Chem-software.




Offline SethTales91

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Re: Year-long Undergraduate Physical/Inorganic Chemistry Research Project
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2013, 03:53:01 AM »
I have been researching doing something with LiBrH4, but am now thinking an analytical chemistry project would suit me better to develop skills on some kind of instrumentation. Are instrumentation skills employable?

I also have some questions about LiBrH4, or other metal hydrides and hydrogen storage. What are the main technical problems with implementing chemical hydrogen storage methods? Is it too energy intensive to produce, not reversible (refillable?), etc. The general sense that I have been getting is that most metal hydrides would need to high of a temperature to release the hydrogen, and then recharging them with hydrogen is also not energy efficient. Is this correct? What am I missing?

curiouscat, to answer your question, I have access to a number of instruments such as FTIR, GCMS, NMR, SEM, and a few others, as well as some chemicals. Also, as I said, there is some money available.

I am not very interested in doing a computer project, nor would that satisfy the project requirements.

*Edit

Also, I have been reading more about catalysis and am finding that very interesting. Any ideas and/or resources for catalysis?
Thanks,

Seth

Offline spirochete

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Re: Year-long Undergraduate Physical/Inorganic Chemistry Research Project
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2013, 11:25:30 PM »
I have been researching doing something with LiBrH4, but am now thinking an analytical chemistry project would suit me better to develop skills on some kind of instrumentation. Are instrumentation skills employable?

Instrumentation skills are very employable. I'm not an expert on analytical chemistry, but I've spent a lot of time looking at listings on places like indeed.com and browsed through various chemistry jobs. They definitely want skills in things like HPLC, mass spec etc. But if you're curious about what specific instrumentation you could probably get a good idea by skimming through a large number of job postings.

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Year-long Undergraduate Physical/Inorganic Chemistry Research Project
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2013, 09:30:55 AM »
LiAlH4 would improve solid rocket propellants if made usable.
Not LiBH4 which is too expensive and its combustion gas toxic.

"Usable" means approximately: not pyrophoric when stored in a silo, compatible with ammonium perchlorate powder and polybutadiene while curing, insensitive to moisture, reasonably insensitive to crushing, not too sensitive to sparks, and more.

For AlH3, this has been achieved with a very thin layer of aluminium deposited on the grains. Maybe LiAlH4 can get the same.

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Metal hydrides to store hydrogen: much work is invested in this topic since decades, so you're unlikely to find something new. I have two doubts:

- If storing one hydrogen atom per lithium, or three per aluminium, is it any better to consume the hydrogen in a fuel cell, rather than oxidize the metal in a battery? It brings as many electrons, about as many volts (more with Li) and a better efficiency. It does take a depolarizer up to now, but research tries to use air for it.

- Are hydrides better than liquid hydrogen? I have a workable tank design (...provided we want to store hydrogen somewhere) that weighs only as much as the contents and keeps it for months even without a cryocooler.
http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/73798-quick-electric-machines/#entry738806
my bet is that airplanes willl adopt it, cars maybe.

Difficulties of hydrides: most projects imagine to keep the metal in a tank permanently and pump hydrogen in/out, combined with a temperature swing. A little bird tells me that it takes much metal to store little hydrogen under these conditions. It may be better to obtain a complete hydride at the filling station and give the metal back.

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At (applied) thermodynamics, this idea is simple theory (a nice concrete image of entropy and reversibility) but real fun to experiment, and means the first progress for airships in decades, making them much more useful:
http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/70114-aerostat-buoyancy-control/
find the proper set of paraffines (or salts or polyols), tinker exchangers and envelopes, observe on scales that weight changes, add optionally a big envelope to fly the demo for real. Nice show.

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