CHEM409-001/2        Physical Chemistry Laboratory           Fall 2019        TW 2-4:50 (1 credit hour)

Professor Maria C. Gelabert Artiles                         Sims 314A, x4939

Office Hours:  M 12:30-1:30, TW 9:30-10:30 or by appointment


Lab Schedule

Lab Report Format and Grading


Course Synopsis and Goals

In this laboratory course, experiments are completed that connect with the CHEM407 lecture material. Besides laboratory skills, techniques in data collection, error estimation and propagation, calculations, data presentation and scientific writing are practiced. Important corollary skills include keeping a clear, well-organized lab notebook and synthesizing all material into a comprehensive lab report.



Learning Outcomes and Products

Upon completion of this course, students will demonstrate their mastery with the following:

*    Clear pre-lab notes, experimental description and raw data;

*    Effective manipulation of data;

*    Appropriate assignment of errors and propagation of those errors;

*    Comparison of experimental results with accepted values and reference citation;

*    Reports that are clearly written, organized, with correct calculations and appropriate citations.



Required Materials

Barrante, Applied Mathematics for Physical Chemistry, 3rd ed. Prentice Hall

Non-spiral composition book, 80-100 pp, lined or quadrille

loose leaf paper

safety goggles



Safety Rules

Safety goggles or glasses in the lab at all times, and gloves when appropriate or as you prefer



Students with Disabilities/Need of Accommodations for Access

Winthrop University is dedicated to providing access to education. If you have a disability and require specific accommodations to complete this course, contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 803-323-3290. Once you have your official notice of accommodations from the Office of Disability Services, please inform me as early as possible in the semester.



Student Conduct Code

As noted in the Student Conduct Code: ''Responsibility for good conduct rests with students as adult individuals.'' The policy on student academic misconduct is outlined in the Student Conduct Code- Academic Misconduct Policy in the online Student Handbook





Grading and Attendance


Each week we will have lab lecture at 2:00 for theory, experimental, data and error analysis or computational details. This is an experiential learning course. In order to receive a passing grade in lab, you must not miss any more than one lab lecture and experiment. If you miss a lab for any reason, you MUST contact me no later than 24 hours after your session; only under those circumstances may a makeup lab be scheduled.


The 100‑point lab grade is broken down as follows:

         10 % Pre-lab assignments (due 2:00 on lab day): 3-4 questions available one week in advance

         15 % Post-lab assignments (due 4:50 on lab day): Experimental and Partial Calculations (varies by week)

         40 % *Formal Lab Reports (see p. 4): normally due one week after experimental work

         15 % **Notebook checks (see below): at least 12 times, during lab period only (no credit for missing or nonregulation notebooks)

         10 % Attendance, safety, competence and respect for others

         10%  Lab final exam (T: Wednesday, 12/4, 11:30; W: Thursday, 12/5, 3:00)

         –1 % Per incident involving lack of safety glasses or any other incident judged by the instructor to be unsafe


Minimum letter grades:

100-90 A, A–

89-80  B+, B, B–

79-70  C+, C, C–

69-60  D+, D, D–

≤59    F



Lab Notebook


The bound, non-spiral lab notebook will be used to keep notes on all laboratory work and lab lecture notes as desired. Use only your lab notebook to write any pre-lab notes, take data, experimental problems and solutions, error analysis, etc (NO notes on gloves, scrap paper, or disruptively calling out data to your lab partner, etc.). By the end of the lab experiment, every person should have his or her own original data in their lab notebook. Your lab notes should be clear enough so that anyone can repeat your experiment.  Making thorough notes also facilitates the write-up procedure and helps you become established as a working chemist. Without previous announcement, notebook checks will be given based on instructor observation. Notebooks may be collected and made the available the following day.

         *       Table of Contents and numbered pages: strongly recommended.

         *       Titles: date and title of major activity on each page

         *       Activity: every single procedure should have a subtitle or sentence communicating what was done, along with data and units.

         *       Observations: all relevant observations should be noted.

         *       Reference to external sources: lab writeup, lecture notes, journal article, conversing with instructor or another lab group, etc.

         *       When in doubt, leave space





Maintaining Low Entropy


Documenting Waste

In this lab course, students are expected to document waste. What are you getting rid of? Does it belong in aqueous waste or organic waste? If you don’t know, review general/organic/hygiene chemistry as needed and ASK before you throw something into the wrong bottle. Estimate amounts and write down information on the sheets provided.


Maintaining the Lab

Pretend this is a job (actually, it is). Clean up any area you use. If you see anyone act irresponsibly, feel free to let me know confidentially. If I hear you’re a slacker from two people independently who don’t appear to be ganging up on you, we will be having a conversation.


Washing Glassware

Clean glassware is happy glassware – the people who use it next will also appreciate it. Wash well with hot, soapy water, rinse with distilled water and allow to dry. On the same theme, when you pick up a piece of glassware, don’t assume it’s clean.



This laboratory uses mercury thermometers, so please treat those with the utmost care. Mercury spills are painful to take care of – let’s avoid that as much as possible.