Royal Society of Chemistry’s Schools Analyst Competition

On a frosty Wednesday morning, we set off to ChemLabS at the University of Bristol for the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Schools Analyst Competition. Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by the judges and Mr Tim Harrison from ChemLabS. 

We were given two challenging and thought-provoking tasks which were unlike anything we had seen before! Since we were very time pressured, we had to tactically split the two tasks between us.

The first task was to find the percentage of mass of paracetamol in a tablet. We had to explore this using a technique which was new to us: ultraviolet spectroscopy. The cuvette we used was neither plastic nor glass, it was made out of quartz. We had to carry out a serial dilution to produce a calibration curve, which we managed to do with a combined effort.

The second task was to titrate potassium manganite(VII) against a standard solution of Mohr’s salt to find the water of crystallisation of ammonium iron(II) sulphate. We successfully carried out the titration, achieving concordant titres, and had a promising attempt at the calculations. 

Lastly we had to complete a theoretical quiz. This was the tie-breaker and involved distinguishing between five unknown solutions.

Unfortunately, we did not win. However, we had a great time learning how to use new equipment and we really enjoyed the lecture given by Mr Tim Harrison, which included setting hydrogen balloons on fire, making elephants’ toothpaste, and smelling different organic compounds. 

Overall, this was an extremely valuable experience and we are very grateful to have had the opportunity to represent College in this competition.

Macy, Ivy and Raine (SFC1)