April 17, 2024, 08:47:48 PM
Forum Rules: Read This Before Posting

Topic: Ideas for research/study  (Read 3983 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline alexwarren91

  • Very New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1
  • Mole Snacks: +0/-0
Ideas for research/study
« on: September 24, 2015, 12:09:35 AM »
Hello everyone I'm am a student at american river college in Sacramento and this semester I am doing an independent study with my professor from my last O chem class. There is me and 2 other students and we basically have a few hours of lab time a week to do anything that we feel would be interesting to do that is within our range of equipment and that is not ridiculously expensive out of the departments budget of course. So far we have just been trying an alternative synthesis(alternate to the method used as a lab in his current ochem class) for the insect repellent DEET. I feel like this is a good chance to get some good experience in lab and have some fun but I honestly cant think of many good ideas for things to do. Does anyone have any ideas for things they think would be interesting? i would love to hear some and if its something we can do i would be happy to share how it went.

Offline Enthalpy

  • Chemist
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4041
  • Mole Snacks: +304/-59
Re: Ideas for research/study
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 05:05:01 PM »
Hi Alexwarren91, welcome here!

I feel that the synthesis of an already industrial product isn't exactly research, so here are some suggestions in and outside synthesis.

Distillation by rotating disks. More mechanical engineering.

Dessicate and regenerate the acetone in one step. Feed the compound trails manually for your project.

Store hydrogen, release at will. The result, including "doesn't work", interests people.
- Try alloys that are abnormally light, bell bronze, invar...
- Try magnetosctrictive materials.
- Try shape-memory alloys.

Syntheses using metal vapour. Spiropentane would be fun. May need to build hardware first.

Dimerize alkanes using light and HCl. I'm interested in cyclobutane and cyclopropane
needs an ArF lamp; Xe2 seems less good.

Make alcohols from alkanes, (unconcentrated) hydrogen peroxide and light
needs an ArF or Xe2 lamp.

Synthesize a few aminated quadricyclanes as rocket fuels. I'm interested in the ease of mass-production, the melting point, the flash point, the heat of formation
Needs an Xe2 lamp

Synthesize bis- and tris-cyclobutane mix in a scaleable process
Needs an Xe2 lamp.

Synthesize cyclopropanone (for immediate use) from CO and excited ethylene?
Meanwhile I believe it produces something else but can't find the paper again.
Needs an Xe2 lamp.

UV lamps other than mercury are relatively new. Their use in chemical synthesis can only expand. Good time to start now?

Check how easily Led replace mp-Hg lamps in photochemical reactions
Hot new thing, time to jump in.

Pmdpta, or rather its diethyl variant, as a prospective rocket fuel. What's the melting point? Is the mass-production easy?

Strained amines as prospective rocket fuels.
Again, I'm interested in ease of mass-production, melting points, flash points, heat of formation, ease of use including odour.

Synthesize farnesane, phytane and longer ones in significant amount a reasonable cost. Not really done up to now, but Yamamoto showed a route, so checking its ease of scale would be nice, from isoprene or maybe (??) myrcene
Definitely useful.

Reactor for liquids and gas. Many alternatives exist, maybe this one has some merit, for instance run with dirty liquid.

Coat lithium with something waterproof so it can serve as a float deep in the Ocean
looks bizarre, but other methods work badly. This one seems more reliable, and bathyscaphes are much in demand right now. Since Ni and Ni+Co coatings aren't done on Li up to now, this is more chemistry than metal technology. At least AlH3 pellets have already been coated with thin metal to use as a solid rocket fuel, paper at an AAAF meeting.

Measure the density of solid n-alkanes. Try to confirm or (...rather) infirm that this explains the odd-even effect on the melting point
Easy, and interesting contribution to human knowledge.


I'm not a chemist, so it's even more important that you get advice on my suggestions, from members here, from your professors...

Offline kriggy

  • Chemist
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1520
  • Mole Snacks: +136/-16
Re: Ideas for research/study
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2015, 02:16:31 AM »
I dont realy understand it, doesnt your professor have something for you to do  maybe to help him with his work?
Well, I need to optimize some reaction conditions but guess you cant do that for me :-D
btw since the deet is comercialy produced I dont thin you will find better method than the comercial one but you might do some literature search, and make some derivatives of it using different starting materieal(s)
@enthalpy: I guess its not that much about research but about getting their hands wet and developing their own synthethic pathway.

Offline Enthalpy

  • Chemist
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4041
  • Mole Snacks: +304/-59
Re: Ideas for research/study
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2015, 07:01:12 PM »
[...] @enthalpy: I guess its not that much about research but about getting their hands wet and developing their own synthethic pathway.

Hi Kriggy, that's how I understand it too. But since the synthesis of some fuels I suggest is simpler than the DEET given as an example, why not make something useful? Instead of a molecule already mass-produced, synthesize a rocket fuel really better than the present ones, or one that can bring astronauts back from chilly Mars. And these make easily a first research paper.

Offline mikeja

  • New Member
  • **
  • Posts: 8
  • Mole Snacks: +0/-0
Re: Ideas for research/study
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2015, 12:49:16 PM »
The position that you're in is just one to gain experience.  Your prof may entertain some new research ideas, but don't sweat it if he doesn't accept or seem to give much thought to them. He's likely already made up his mind on what you'll be doing. And depending on his/her personality he'll either tell you outright, or let you have some fun thinking about it and be less up front about what he wants you to do.  Maybe just discuss with the prof more about what they'd like you to do and why.  There are a thousand ways of synthesizing DEET and to me it's just to help you gain experience for future studies or a job.

Offline Enthalpy

  • Chemist
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4041
  • Mole Snacks: +304/-59
Re: Ideas for research/study
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2015, 09:15:46 AM »
Focussing on organic synthesis about as simple as DEET (to my untrained eye), I still see these rocket propellants among the previous suggestions:

from methylamine, dihalopropane and ethylmethylamine.
Hopefully freezes below -78°C and smells decently. Hard to light, can bring samples and astronauts back from Mars.

from cyclopropylamine and dihalopropane.
Efficient. I'm interested in the flash point, melting point, heat of formation.
Dicyclopropyldiazetidine and bis(cyclopropylaza)spiroheptane would be better but supposedly more difficult.

From cyclopentadiene, dichloroethene and dimethylamine. This one is more difficult, isn't it?

Each one can be a subject of publication. Not because they're difficult, but because they're easy - as rockets need tons of propellants cheap enough.

Sponsored Links