RSC Analyst Competition

Thursday the 2nd of February 2017 saw students from four local secondary schools take part in the RSC National Analyst competition at the University of Sheffield Chemistry department. The competition, which is organised by the Analytical division of the Royal Society of Chemistry, is a practical competition for “A” level/BTEC students to experience laboratory techniques and test their analytical deductions in a university laboratory environment.

All students and staff involved in the competitionThis is the first stage of the 2017 competition and is one of the local heats that are taking place round the region. The winning team of students will move onto regional competitions later in the year and then have the possibility of attending the final in London. Three students from local schools Brookfield, Dronfield Henry Fanshawe, Hillhouse, and Tapton schools were chosen to take part in the event.

The competition, in its current form, has been running for many years, and is the third year the competition has been hosted by the University of Sheffield Chemistry.

Students must complete various experiments, all themed around analysis. However, the experiments they perform are more advanced than in secondary schools taking advantage of the laboratory equipment at the university. Students are judged on their skill, understanding, and accuracy with some experiments promoting teamwork and other promoting working on their own. To succeed, students need to adapt their chemical knowledge to the experiments they perform. The actual experiments performed cannot be detailed here since they are part of the competition, but techniques from previous years have included: titrations, spectroscopy, and chromatographic separation. Hereby, it should be noted that the setup for each experiment was tested several times by our experienced technical staff to ensure accurate results to test against the students' results.

The competition lasted for 3 hours where students had to perform various analytical techniques and analysis. This year's winners were the students from Hillhouse School. They will now move onto the regional competition later in the year.

Our thanks go out to all involved, particularly to all staff, without whom the event would not have been possible. Outreach events are a regular occurrence in the department. If you are interested in helping, contact Dr Sara Bacon or Dr Julie Hyde for more information.

Written By
Joe Clarke

With thanks to Technical staff: David Towers, Adam Ford and Richard Bottomley;
Academic staff: Dr Adrien Chauvet and Dr Rob Dawson
Organisers: Dr Julie Hyde and Dr Sara Bacon
Photographer: Joshua Swift