Chemists in Laboratory III – Chemistry Connections with Daily Life
Date : 15 July 2013 (Monday) - 31 July 2013 (Wednesday)
Time : 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Venue : Cha Chi Ming Science Tower, Ho Sin Hang Campus
Type : Outreach

/ Date
Topic / Contents Highlights Mode of Delivery
Part 1: A touch of science thinking and process skills
1 July 15 (Mon) Theories of chemistry: rational explanations of the behavior of matter
  • An introduction to philosophy of science
  • Chemistry is not just the study of matter
  • Deduce like Sherlock Holmes
- Programme introduction (30 min)
- Ice breaking activities (30 min)
- Lecture (30 min)
- Group work (90 min)
Part 2: Drugs and bioactive compounds
2 Jul 17 (Wed) Open up the treasure of Chinese Medicine
  • Extraction of bioactive polysaccharide contents (a pharmacologically active component) from Chinese medicinal herbs/products
  • Using chemical derivatization, convert this bioactive component into a chemical form that absorbs ultra-violet radiation
  • Using UV-VIS spectrophotometer, to measure and quantify the levels of these bioactive polysaccharides contents in various Chinese medicinal herbs/products
  • Compare the experimental values with those claimed by the Chinese medicinal products. Discussion on the difference
- Lecture (45 min)
- Open class sharing on:
Way to control the quality of Chinese medicinal herbs and their related products (15 min)
- Lab. Activities (120 min):
Quality assessment of common Chinese medicinal products using chemical derivatization and UV-VIS measurement
3 Jul 19 (Fri) Synthesis of painkiller – Aspirin
  • Synthesis of acetylsalicylic acid (esterification reaction of salicylic acid)
  • Applying various separation and purification techniques to isolate the pure product
  • Monitoring/Identification of product by means of TLC method
- Lecture (20 min)
- Hands-on experiments: micro-scale synthesis, separation and purification techniques, and  TLC method (160 min)
Part 3: Detecting toxic substances
4 Jul 22 (Mon) Gold Nanoparticles (AuNPs) as a visual detection tool of Melamine
  •  Nanotechnology and our daily life.
  •  Future trend of nanotechnology.
  •  Properties and preparation of AuNPs.
  •  Introduction of melamine and its interaction with AuNPs.
- Home study: Nanotechnologies in our daily life
- Lecture (45 min)
- Group discussion (25 min)
- Experiments (110 min): (a) preparation of AuNPs, characterization of AuNPs with UV-VIS spectroscopy; and detection of melamine with AuNPs
(b) Student will design the experimental procedure in constructing a calibration curve
5 Jul 24 (Wed) Food Additives – their functions and safety limits
  • Nitrite as a food preservative
  • Extraction of nitrite from ham samples
  • Analysis of nitrite content in food by colorimetric method
-Lecture (30 min)
-Group discussion on food labels (15 min)
-Extraction of nitrite from food sample
-Determination of nitrite in hams & assessing food safety issue
6 Jul 26
A Poison Kiss – Analysis of heavy metals in lipsticks
  • Sample treatment with acid digestion or microwave digestion
  • Determination of heavy metals (e.g lead) in different brands of lipsticks by atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS)
  • Compare the concentrations of heavy metals in different brands of lipsticks
- Short video to bring out several cosmetic safety issues for group discussion (15 min)
- Lecture (25 min)
- Hands-on experiment (140 min): Identification of heavy metals in lipsticks
Part 4: Making and manipulating of materials
7 Jul 29 (Mon) Giants Among Molecules - Making, identifying and proper disposing plastic materials
  • Synthesis of nylon – a condensation polymer
  • Special properties of plastics in contrast to small molecules
  • Identification of consumer plastics by physical and IR method
  • Solving the disposal problem of plastic wastes by recyclizing
- Lecture (40 min)
- Group discussion on two issues (20 min) - How to
1) identify common plastic materials &
2) solve the disposal problem
- Lab. Activities (110 min):
Making nylon &
Identify consumer plastics
8 Jul 31 (Wed) Light in Action - Exploring light-emitting materials
  • Classification of different types of light emission
  • Contrasting incandescence and luminescence
  • How to make an amazing light-stick model?
  • Making luminescent materials and detecting the light
- Lecture (40 min)
- Group discussion (20 min): How to
(a) distinguish among different forms of light emission; &
(b) apply them in our everyday life
- Lab. Activities (120 min):
(1) Making light-sticks emitting different colors; (2) Characterizing and measuring luminescence using a fluorimeter