CHEM410-002                       Physical Chemistry Laboratory (CRN 21305)                          Spring 2022

                  Synchronous Instruction TW 2-4:50, Hybrid Lab Contact W 2-4:50 (1 credit hour)


Professor Maria C. Gelabert Artiles

803-323-4939 (voice messages go to e-mail)

Office/Phone: 314A Sims Science Building/803-323-4939

Office Hours – M 12:30-1:30 (Sims 305 or Zoom), F 3:30-4:30 (Zoom), or by appointment

Slack Invitation to Pchem Lab (use Winthrop email address)

Course Synopsis and Goals

In this laboratory course, experiments are completed that connect with the CHEM408 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.

Lab Schedule (page 7)

Required Materials

Spartan Student Edition, v. 8 ($25 with coupon code WINTHROP25)

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

safety goggles

University Competencies

Competency 1: Winthrop graduates think critically and solve problems. You will practice various levels of problem-solving, thoroughly analyze data, and use outside sources for further analysis.

Competency 2: Winthrop graduates are personally and socially responsible. You will practice standard chemical hygiene and safety protocols, signatures of scientific responsibility.

Competency 3: Winthrop graduates understand the interconnected nature of the world and the time in which they live. You will connect with other scientists with the understanding that good communication translates into effective science communication to the broader community.

Competency 4: Winthrop graduates communicate effectively. You will practice communication: data is recorded, analyzed, and written up into a report that contains numerical and written information.

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 Section V of the Student Conduct Code in the online Student Handbook.

COVID-19 Statement

During this pandemic period each student is expected to act in the best interest of the WU community by behaving responsibly to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All students, faculty, and staff must wear masks inside buildings and classrooms, unless alone in a private office. All members of the campus community must follow campus guidance on masking. Please do not attend class if you have fever or any signs of the COVID virus; do not attend class if your roommate or someone you have close contact with acquires the virus and be respectful of others’ desire to remain COVID-free. Students who violate WU guidelines will be asked to comply. Continued failure to comply may result in referral to the Dean of Students Office as a student conduct violation. Please familiarize yourself with Winthrop’s Return to Learn protocols. Let’s do all we can to keep each other, and surrounding community, healthy!

COVID-Related Absence

Students should contact Health Services regarding a positive test, close contact, or enhanced COVID-like symptoms. Any student who has either tested positive, has COVID-like symptoms, or has close contact with someone who has COVID, must contact Health Services. Students should log in to the Medicat Patient Portal to schedule a TELEPHONE TRIAGE Appointment w/ COVID as the reason and upload the positive test result if applicable. Health Services will communicate with the student on what steps to take next, and if need be, the Dean of Students Office will get absence verification for required isolation and quarantine. Students who verify their absences through the Dean of Students Office often minimize any academic impact caused by missed class time. Health Services will only provide dates of absence, not medical information. Please note, residential students who test positive or are a close contact are expected to follow their personal COVID Quarantine and Isolation Plan.

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 Accessibility (OA) at 803-323-3290 or Once you have your official notice of accommodations from the Office of Disability Services, please inform me as early as possible in the semester.

Copyright Notice

The materials in this course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course and for purposes associated with this course.  These materials may not be retained or further disseminated.

Syllabus Change Policy

I reserve the right to update and edit this syllabus as necessary, including assignments, the calendar, and policies. You will be notified immediately of any such changes.

Campus Resources for Online Learners

Students who are enrolled in hybrid/online courses are entitled to the same campus resources available to on-campus students. These resources included admissions counseling, library, student services, and recreational facilities. A list of these resources is provided in the Blackboard Tutorials & Campus Resources, found in Blackboard.

Course Communication

1.    Plan to be “present” in the course by logging in at least 3-4 times weekly and completing all assignments by their due dates.

2.    For email, it is essential that you use your Winthrop account; Bb and Slack use only your WU credentials. Approximate response times: Bb few days, email one day, Slack most immediate. On weekends, expect longer response times, up to ≈48 hours.

3.    If you have a general question that might be asked by other students, please use the “Ask the Instructor” Bb forum or Slack channel. Questions specific to a particular lab assignment, technique or analysis should be directed to the appropriate Slack channel.

4.    In the spirit of a learning community, students are encouraged to help each other by responding to questions from other students.

5.    When interacting with your fellow students online, in Bb forums, Slack or email, remember to communicate with the same level of clarity, professionalism and respect that you would practice in face to face communication.

6.    If you are participating in a live video conference, present yourself in a professional manner, with attention to your voice clarity, sound quality, lighting and film environment.

7.    For backup purposes, compose messages and posts in a word processor, then copy and paste the message into the discussion or message.

8.    For private messages to the instructor or another student, only use Winthrop email.

Student Responsibilities in an Online Course

Many students find that responsibilities for online courses differ significantly from traditional courses. The following statements outline some of your basic responsibilities for this course. If you believe you will have difficulty meeting these responsibilities, it is essential that we find a way to maximize your learning experience. Please be in contact with me about any challenges, and pledge the following:

1.    I will ask questions immediately if I don't understand instructions or due dates for assignments.

2.    I will organize my time in order to complete assignments in a thoughtful and on-time manner.

3.    I understand that failure of technology is not an excuse for turning assignments in late.

4.    I will review the technical support information in the Blackboard Tutorials & Campus Resources and Introduction modules, contacting support services as needed.

5.    I understand that there are other sources of technology for me to use if my primary source fails, such as libraries, campus labs, or friends' computers.

6.    I will participate fully in assignments by following the instructions, responding to my lab partners respectfully and completing my contributions on time.

7.    I will log in to class at least 3 times per week and spend an appropriate amount of time each week completing course materials.

Course Meeting Logistics

The pandemic response includes physical distancing. Before each lab meeting, you are expected to go through introductory materials (written or video) and complete the Pre-lab Assignment or Quiz. Allow at least an hour for completing pre-lab activities. Anyone missing the respective quiz deadline receives an absence for any experiential portion, or about 1% against total course grade. Please ensure maximized safety with over-the-top clarity about experimental procedures.


This course is defined by experiential learning. In order to receive a passing grade in course, you must not miss more than one 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. With the global pandemic and potential quarantines/isolation, makeup labs might be done remotely. To preserve the integrity of this experiential lab course, please ensure outstanding experimental clarity, in the event of remote makeup labs or mandated conversion to an online course.

Safety Rules

Safety goggles are required in the lab at all times, with gloves during lab work. Ensure that gloved hands never touch your face, and use only clean gloves (especially after handling chemicals) for computer keyboards or instrument surfaces. Face masks are required everywhere in Sims, and disposable face masks for the lab will be provided.

Sims 305: Maintaining Low Entropy

Entrance and Exit Doors

For maximized physical distancing, the entry door is on the north side, with locked exit door on the south side. As possible for each experiment, a specific traffic direction will be established.

Documenting Waste

In this lab course, students are expected to dispose of waste. Does it belong in aqueous waste or organic waste? If you’re not sure, review general/organic/hygiene chemistry as needed and ASK before you use the wrong waste 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 independently from two people, 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.


The 100‑point lab grade consists of the pieces outlined below, further described in subsequent sections.

  5%     Slack and Blackboard Participation

  5%     F2F/Zoom attendance, lab preparation, safety, competence and respect for others

Text Box: Minimum letter grades	
100-90	A, A–
89-80	B+, B, B–
79-70	C+, C, C–
69-60	D+, D, D–, CR
≤59	F, UN

15%     Pre-lab Assignment/Quizzes: completed by 2:00 pm on lab day - required for attendance credit

10 %    Notebook Pages: due by 4:50 on the day of completed work

20 %    Post-lab: first draft due 24 hours after completed work

35 %    Formal Lab Reports: normally due one week after completing experimental work

10%     Final Exam (Thursday, April 28; see Schedule)

–1 %    Per incident involving lack of safety glasses/mask, dangerous lack of preparation, or any unsafe, preventable incidentg

Pre-lab Assignment/Quiz

Allow at least an hour for completing pre-lab activities that include any of these: reading, video and Pre-lab Assignment/Quiz. This Assignment/Quiz ensures that you understand the handout well enough to begin lab work. This covers basic content and experimental lab procedures.

Lab Notebook and Notebook Assignment

The bound, non-spiral lab notebook is the only place to keep written class material: pre-lab notes, lab lecture notes, data collection, experimental problems and solutions, error analysis, etc. (NO notes on gloves, scrap paper, or disruptively calling out data to your lab partner!). Lab notes should be clear enough to repeat your experiment. Making thorough notes also facilitates the write-up procedure and helps you become established as a working chemist. These practices are strongly recommended:

·               Table of Contents and numbered pages

·               Titles/Activity: date and title of major activity on each page, with any appropriate subtitles. Describe what was done, along with any data/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.

After each experiment or procedure, the Notebook Assignment is due by 4:50 pm, with three rubrics for raw data, experimental writing, and experimental detail. This assignment is essentially a draft of your formal report Experimental section (sentence or bullet form), as well as collected data. If the experiment or procedure doesn't seem to fall into the rubrics, improvising is part of your learning. Writing must be in third person, past tense and passive voice. “This was done.” You will organize these on no more than 2 pages of the lab notebook. Handwritten, photographed notebook pages are expected to be legible.

Post-lab Assignment

After each procedure, the first Post-lab submission is due within 24 hours. Associated rubrics for Calculations, Propagation of Error, and Literature Comparison are within the Blackboard assignments. Your Post-lab might be graded multiple times: at the time of submission, and with any corrections up until the Lab Report is submitted. The final Post-lab grade is the only one counting towards the course grade.

Calculations (3):                        Calculations leading to final result, including graphs and worksheets imbedded into text file. One sample calculation for each formula or step. Submission of entire Excel worksheets and excessive typed equations/calculations is discouraged. Instead, include excerpts of Excel worksheets, small image files and handwritten, scanned or photographed calculations.

Propagation of Error (3):            One sample calculation of propagated error, or assignment-specific percent error.

Accepted Value/Source (3):        Comparison of calculated value (with propagated error window) to accepted value, or appropriate qualitative comparison. Literature source for comparison is correctly cited and formatted.

Formal Lab Report and Grading Rubric

The lab report is uploaded to Blackboard as a single pdf document. Any secondary files will not be opened. The penalty for late reports is 1 point per day, or one subletter letter grade per day. The elements of Post-lab (Calculations, Propagation of Error, and Accepted Value/Source) are to be summarized within the Lab Report (15 points), the five parts described below. Combining those elements in an appropriate, concise, formal way is part of your learning.

Abstract (3):                              (3-4 sentences) A brief overview of the entire experiment, followed by summary of theory and methods, then the final numerical results (with propagated error) and comparison with any accepted value.

Experimental (3):                      (1-2 paragraphs) A description of experimental methods and procedures, with enough detail to reproduce the experiment. What instruments or supplies were used? Concentrations? Was standardization performed? What data were taken? Include any data not included in Data Presentation. Anything unusual occur?

Data Presentation (3):               Well-organized raw data, formalized from Notebook Pages, complete enough that I can reproduce your calculations with just the Lab Report. Besides MS-Word tables, you may instead use images of neatly written tables from your notebook, or excepts of Excel worksheets imbedded as images into the report. Presentation of Post-lab calculation highlights, culminating in final calculated values with propagated error. Does one or more of the random values contribute more to error in the final value?

Discussion and Error (3):            Adapted from Post-lab, statement of calculated value comparison with accepted value, with citation. A synopsis of systematic errors. Within specific systematic errors, does the “direction” of error (low or high side) make sense with respect to calculations? How would any corrections change results?

Cited References (3):                 Use in-text, numerical citation-sequence system in accordance with the ACS Style Guide. As information is used, you are required to cite from assigned reading and any additional sources. Cite all sources used besides the lab handout, paraphrase appropriately and avoid plagiarism. Do not cite a reference you don’t use and do not use a reference you don’t cite.

Lab Schedule – Spring 2022 (subject to change)



[ONLINE: synchronous instruction 2-4:50]





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Safety goggles

No open-toed shoes

Lab notebook

Pre-lab Assignment/Quiz

Foggy road...good preparation means efficiency and safety




Lab Report Due

January 12

Syllabus and Introduction

[1. Rotational Barrier of N,N-dimethylacetamide]


January 19

1. Rotational Barrier of N,N-dimethylacetamide

1. January 26

[January 26]

February 2

2. Absorption Spectrum of a Conjugated Dye

2. February 9

February 9

3. Synthesis and Spectroscopy of CdS Nanoparticles

3. February 16

February 16

February 23

4. Synthesis and Emission of N-doped ZnO

4. March 2

March 2

[March 9]

5. Rovibrational Spectroscopy of HCl and Morse Potential

5. March 23

March 16

No Lab - Spring Break


March 23

March 30

6. Synthesis and IR Spectroscopy of Copper(II) Hexahydroxyl Sulfate

7. Synthesis, X-ray and Photoluminescence of Y2SiO5

6. April 6

April 6

April 13

April 20

7. Synthesis, X-ray and Photoluminescence of Y2SiO5

7. *April 25 M

3:00, April 28 R

Lab Final