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ScottyMcGeester's avatar

What are some long, tedious chemistry lab experiments you had to do for freshman year of college?

Asked by ScottyMcGeester (1897points) January 27th, 2016

I’m writing a story and it centers around a main character who is a freshman in college studying chemistry, and in this one scene he gets frustrated with a particular lab experiment.

I used to take chemistry as a requirement for biology major, and so I tried looking back at the experiments we did but most of them weren’t really as long as I remembered. It wasn’t until organic chemistry that we really did some crazy shit, but I want the main character to mess up something long and arduous for freshman chemistry lab.

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8 Answers

msh's avatar

Can you go and ask the Proff or TA for ideas?
Or else ask for the various class syllabus outlines.
Question- if you make it too technical, as with later coursework, you may be hurting the story more than extending the process.
Try having something go south via differentials in the chemicals used, shipment differences, or the like.
Good luck.

ScottyMcGeester's avatar

Uh, I don’t go to college anymore. I’ve been working for like the past 4 works. Heh.

Most of the teachers and TAs I knew are long gone and idk who works there now.

I don’t want it to make it technical in the sense that the character says “Oh and then we filled the beaker with 50 ml of solution” But I don’t want to just be like “Lab sucked today because I did this thing that sucked.” I’m developing certain relationships between him and other characters and they conflict because he fucks up the experiment. I won’t go in full detail with the experiment but I want to have SOME sense as to what they are doing.

Seek's avatar

Make them accidentally set a beaker of alcohol on fire. That’s always fun, and frighteningly easy to do.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I remember some of them were reasonably complex like dissolving a penny in acid and getting it all back out through about 10 steps. That was a long time ago though. I’d just google an actual lab manual for an average college to get some idea of what they do now. Most of that stuff is online now anyway. I kept the textbooks from chem but tossed the lab manuals years ago.

LuckyGuy's avatar

We did this experiment in “Orgo” (Organic Chemistry).

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I always thought that the standard is for new students to clean beakers.

cazzie's avatar

Formulating molar solutions and then doing titrations.

dappled_leaves's avatar

The first thing that comes to mind is titrations, especially if you have to wait for any length of time before adding more to the solution. So tedious, and the anxiety of whether or not you’re recognizing a colour change is a pain.

I remember other experiments where it was all “go to this station and get 5 mg of this, then go to that station and get 10 mg of that, then grind X into a fine powder, then add [whatever], etc., etc.” Those can be easy to mess up, but I do not remember what the point was for any of those. That was some great learning experience, obviously.

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