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Chemistry Schools Analyst Runners Up

schools analyst competition stamfordThree Year 12 students competed in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s prestigious Schools Analyst Competition at the University of Nottingham, where after an excellent team performance they finished runners-up.

On the day the team travelled to Nottingham and were greeted by Dr Samantha Tang, the RSC’s representative. Other competing teams included representatives from Loughborough Grammar and Nottingham High School.

The teams objective was to identify ‘Substance X’, a solid present in a sample of pills they were given. In the first task the team successfully separated the substance from the pills in a process which included, dissolving the pills, use of a fume cupboard and the aid of a £3000 rotary evaporator complete a with vacuum pump.

By this point they had used up 90 minutes of the 4-hour time limit, completing just one experiment of five, despite this the team remained expertly calm. The tasks were then split between the trio, Will and Sam set about the Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy whilst Cian tackled the chromatography.

The IR Spectroscopy showed which functional groups were present in ‘X’ based on the absorption of different frequency IR waves. Chromatography enabled them to look at both the purity of the sample and to compare it to known substances to find out what sort of molecule it was. The final experiment tested substance X’s solubility in hydrochloric acid, sodium chloride solution, and distilled water.

After a tense three-day wait for the results, the team were placed second out of 16 teams, just missing out on representing the East Midlands in the national competition in June. They were specially praised for their teamwork, practical technique, and health and safety practices, with Dr Tang hoping for another Stamford team next year.

Dr Jones said: “I’m delighted the team enjoyed their day. I am pleased that the RSC regional organiser took time to single out the Stamford School team for their superb organisation, teamwork and professional conduct. I was very proud of the team!”