Chemistry Schools


As well as running activities in the Chemistry department here on campus and at schools, we also offer other services to schools.

If you are interested in any of these services, please visit our Booking page and then fill in the booking form, or email us at

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Spectroscopy In A Suitcase

Spectroscopy In A SuitcaseThe Spectroscopy In A Suitcase (SIAS) initiative allows students to learn about spectroscopy and get hands-on experience in their own classroom. The activities cover the principles of spectroscopic techniques and help show real-life applications, and is ideal for GCSE and A-Level students.

The activity was conceived by the Royal Society of Chemistry as part of their HE STEM programme to promote chemistry in further education. The suitcase includes a UV-Vis spectrometer and an IR spectrometer, and comes with a full teachers resource pack including instructions, spectra and samples for both techniques and also includes some mass-spectrometer data to provide a comprehensive spectroscopic experience.

For more information relating to the SIAS, please visit the RSC SIAS website. The teachers resource pack can be downloaded here.

Teachers may be interested in the SpectraSchool website. It contains many online spectra which could be used to assist SIAS sessions, as well as independently aid teaching, learning and revision. There is also an "Identify" quiz function which gives some spectroscopic data for an "unknown" compound, and asks the user to work out which compound the spectra represent.

To book the Suitcase, please visit our Booking page and then fill in the booking form, or email us at

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Sample Analysis

Sample analysisThe best way for students to learn how to interpret spectroscopic analytical data is to practise! We have found that this is reinforced even more if the spectra studied are ones of samples the students have produced themselves, rather than simply from a book or made by a lab technician. The Chemistry department runs a free sample analysis service for schools using:

  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)
  • Mass-spectrometry (MS)
  • Infra-red spectroscopy (IR)

While the scope for synthetic chemistry is limited in the current A level syllabus, there are a number of suitable synthetic experiments such as the synthesis of aspirin. This is a no-cost service run exclusively for the benefit of schools. If you are interested in using this service or you have any questions about which experiments could be performed, please email

Please contact us before sending samples: we need to make sure we know what the samples are, which spectra are required, where to send the results and other information. Once we have approved your request, samples should be securely packaged and sent to: Sample Analysis, Schools and Colleges Liaison Team, Department of Chemistry, Dainton Building, University of Sheffield, Brook Hill, Sheffield, S3 7HF.

The analysis team advise:

  • Send samples by a registered courier in a well packaged container
  • Submit a maximum of 10 samples of size upto 1g
  • Clearly label the sample with the name of substance, hazards, school name, teacher name and an accompanying letter to explain what the samples are and the analysis required