Kroto Schools Laboratory

Learning about chemistry starts well before university. We run activities to support learning in schools and colleges for students in years 12-13, ranging from lab classes and analytical workshops to careers advice.

A chemist conducting a bucky ball experiemtn in a school - image

Request a visit

We are now taking requests for the academic year starting 2019-2020. Please view our booking calendar below to find out which dates are available. We are currently taking requests for Fridays, or Wednesday afternoon spectroscopy workshops.

Booking request form

As soon as a session is confirmed it will be updated on the booking calendar and you will receive an email confirmation from us. Please note that a session is not confirmed until you have heard from us.

View our booking calendar

Activities

Chemists do reactions and make things. Our laboratory classes introduce students to practical chemistry in a modern, well-equipped university laboratory environment.

Students carry out chemical synthesis and investigations or can use the department's cutting edge analytical techniques such as IR, NMR spectroscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Laboratory classes: Years 12-13

A number of experiments are available, linked to the A Level syllabus, and are all designed to interest and encourage students in their chemistry studies.

Sessions we run:

Preparation of paracetamol (Y12 and 13) Preparation of aspirin (Y12 and 13)

Please note:

Staff from the Department of Chemistry supervise, demonstrate and teach each experiment but we require two members of staff from the school (per group) to ensure adequate safety cover All safety apparatus will be provided on the day e.g. lab coats, goggles and nitrile gloves.

Preparation of paracetamol
Paracetamol is a very widely used medicine. It is a mild painkiller and reduces the temperature of patients with fever. In this practical workshop you will have the opportunity to prepare paracetamol via a two-part synthesis and to purify the product using vacuum filtration and recrystallisation techniques. The mechanisms of reduction, nitration and acylation will be covered with the option of the determination of structure using IR and MS techniques.

Preparation of aspirin
The organic synthesis of aspirin (2-ethanoylbenzenecarboxylic acid) will involve an esterification reaction by a reflux synthesis using quick fit apparatus and purification methods. Aspirin will be prepared by heating ethanoic anhydride with 2-hydroxybenzoic acid, separation using vacuum filtration and recrystallisation as a purification technique.

Analytical Workshops: Years 12-13

To help students understand analytical techniques better, the we run a half day analytical workshop for schools and colleges. These visits take place on Wednesday afternoons and run throughout the academic year.

Students will be set the task of identifying an "unknown" compound from a list of six possibles, using data obtained by:

  • Nuclear magnetic resonance
  • Mass-spectroscopy
  • Infra-red spectroscopy

Starting with a welcome to the Department, students are split into groups and move around the various techniques, where they will have the opportunity to see samples run and to ask questions of the technical experts responsible for those instruments. The workshop concludes with students looking at all the available analytical data and working out the structure of the unknown compound. 

A world top-100 university

We're a world top-100 university renowned for the excellence, impact and distinctiveness of our research-led learning and teaching.