Chem 438 Syllabus


Spring, 2013

Prof. Steven D. Brown

Office: 239 Brown Laboratory

Voice mail: 831-6861


Office Hours: 1100T, 1300-1400TR

Spring 2013

Course times: as noted in laboratory schedules

Course location:  241 Brown Laboratory


Texts & Resources

Required course items:

Text: No text is required for this course. I will provide all course material in pdf form via the Sakai environment.

Other Required Items:

1. Approved chemistry safety goggles. Available from the UD bookstore or other vendors. Be sure that ones you purchase are for chemistry; ones used in biology are generally not acceptable

for this course. You are required to wear these at all times in the laboratory. You will be dismissed from the laboratory if you fail to wear goggles when required.

2. Bound laboratory noteboook with numbered pages. The notebook should have sewn-in pages. The laboratory notebook from Chem 120 or 221 will be satisfactory if you have about 40 pages remaining. The cabon-paged lab notebook from physical chemistry lab (Chem 445-6) is also acceptable if the book has sewn-in, numbered pages. We won’t need carbon copies.

Reccomended course texts:

1. Principles of Instrumental Analysis, by D.A. Skoog, F.J. Holler, and S.R. Crouch., 6th Ed., Brooks Cole 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0-495-01201-6.

2. Quantitative Chemical Analysis,by D.C. Harris, 8th Ed., W.H. Freeman and Co., New York, NY, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-1-4292-1815-3

Both are available from the UD student bookstore or from other online sources (which often have used copies!). You should have these books from Chem 120 and 437.

(Note: While I list the most recent editions, any recent edition is fine for use in this course. You will need to adjust pages referenced accordingly, however.)


We will use the chemical literature occasionally in this course. You should arrange for access to searching of the literature using Web of Knowledge or ScFinder Scholar.

Study Tips/Learning Resources

This course involves lab work, data analysis/statistics and some report writing. You’ve learned some data analysis in Chem 120, but that might need some refreshing and extending. We will make extensive use of propagation of error and error estimates in calibration and standards addition in this course. You can review methodology in Harris (Chapters 3-5) and Skoog (Appendix 1).

Student feedback on instruction

I welcome student feedback on the course, either anonymously or signed. I’ll have a mid-term evaluation to give you a formal opportunity to comment. There will also be the usual end-of-term on-line student feedback, with some supplemental material in addition to the departmental student feedback form

Catalog Description

Application of spectroscopic, electrochemical and chromatographic techniques to the solution of chemical problems.

Chemistry 438 is an advanced-level, overview laboratory course in chemical instrumentation as applied to chemical analysis. This is a required, one-credit, laboratory course intended for majors in Chemistry, Biochemistry or in closely related fields. Prerequisites are Chem 322 or Chem 332. It is advisable that the prerequisite course Chem 437 not be taken concurrently with the laboratory. Chem 445 is a co-requisite course. Topics introduced in Chem 438 include basic measurements in spectrometry, chromatography and electrochemistry.

Course Requirements:
This course involves 9 laboratory projects, each involving a measurement, and a written report that discusses the measurement, examines experimental error and reports the the result with an estimate of its error. Students enrolling in this course should have had previous coursework in undergraduate instrumental analysis (Chem 437 or equivalent) and prior course and lab experience in undergraduate analytical chemistry (Chem 120, 220/221, or equivalent).

Course Policies:

Teamwork Policy:

Students are expected to attend laboratory and to complete all assignments as a team in the allotted time. I welcome student visits to office hours if the student team or any member

of the team has trouble with the reports, the computations or any other aspect of the course material.

Academic Honesty Policy:

You are encouraged to become familiar with The University’s Policy of Academic Honesty found in the UD Student Guide to University Policies.

More on the whole issue of academic integrity can be found here. Policies delineated in the Guide apply to this course. While laboratory work for Chem 438 should be

done in collaboration with others in the course, you are expected to submit your own report, not another person’s report or results, whether or not that person grants you permission.

By submitting work to any instructor of this course, you acknowledge being made aware of the academic honesty policy and affirm your adherence to the policy.

Attendance and Excused Absences Policy:

Though formal attendance is not taken in laboratory, you are expected to attend all scheduled laboratories.

The class policy on absences follows the University policy, which can be found here. Any absences from laboratory should be announced, if possible, in advance of the lab session, and the student missing a lab will need to provide an excuse note to be offered an opportunity to make up the lab. Absences will be excused for documented medical reasons (serious illness requiring a doctor’s care), family emergencies, some University sanctioned events, and employer-required absences. Scheduled absences must be made known in writing to the course instructor in advance so that arrangements can be made to allow your partners to perform the work in your absence. An e-mail from the Dean’s Office or from the employer may be used to support student claims.

Minor absences may be excused at the discretion of the course instructor on a case by case basis, depending on the reason for the absence and what course material is missed.

Special Accommodations:

Students requesting special accommodations in Chem 438 must already be registered with UD’s Disabilities Support Services or Academic Enrichment Center, as appropriate. Those students should contact the course instructor well in advance of any course activity to arrange for special accommodations that follow the terms of the arrangements set by the Support staff.

E-Mail Policy:

The instructor does not use texting or other social media. Important notices and correction of errors will be sent to the e-mail distribution list for the class to provide the fastest dissemination of the information. The registrar will include your campus e-mail account on these class distribution lists, so plan to check it regularly.

I make every effort to respond promptly to e-mailed questions or concerns from students. Be aware that because University filters may trap and remove mail – especially external mail – under some circumstances, I may not receive or be able to respond to e-mail originating from off-campus e-mail accounts.

Cell Phone and Laptop Policy:

Placing and especially receiving phone calls and texting in lab is disruptive and discourteous to your fellow students and to the instructor. You are expected to turn your cell phone off and stow it during lab and any lab help sessions. You are encouraged to bring and use your laptop to lab for the purpose of recording data and performing data analysis. Laptops are not to be used for other purposes during laboratory sessions.


Grading in Chem 438 is done on the basis of scores in 9 labs and a laboratory assessment score that is scored equal to one laboratory. Each lab is scored on the basis of the notebook quality, the pre-lab preparation in the notebook, and the laboratory report, including the accuracy of the result obtained:Grading, Evaluation Policies and Procedures

Grading in Chem 438 is done on the basis of scores in 9 labs and a laboratory assessment score that is scored equal to one laboratory. Each lab is scored on the basis of the notebook quality, the pre-lab preparation in the notebook, and the laboratory report, including the accuracy of the result obtained:

Notebook: 10%

Pre-lab: 30%

Lab Report: 60% (you can find an assessment form for the lab report portion of your grade here and the grading criteria here ).

TOTAL 100%

The laboratory assessment score is awarded on the basis of an assessment of your preparation for the lab (25%), participation in the team labwork (25%), care taken in handling of the instruments and their accessories (25%), and participation in post-lab clean up of the lab (25%). Mr. Cruz and your TA participate in setting this score.

Prior Chem 438 courses given by this instructor have had an average grade of 3.5 (B+).



All laboratory sections meet in 241 BrL.

 Students work in two-person groups in this laboratory.

Groups rotate among the 4 laboratories from laboratories in Set 1, then among the 4 laboratories in Set 2. Rotation assignments will be provided.

Week of

Laboratory Schedule

Feb. 4-8

No Laboratories

Feb. 11-15

Laboratory Check-in  

1. Complete Right-to-Know Training

2. Get group assignments and Laboratory 1-8 rotations here.

Feb. 18-22

Lab 0  Introduction to Instrumental Calculations and Report Writing

(A “dry-lab” experiment done in lab, bring a calculator or laptop with Excel to lab)

Feb. 25-March 1

Labs 1-4

(see assignments; groups will rotate through the 4 experiments)

March 4-8

Labs 1-4, continued  

March 11-15

Labs 1-4, continued

March 18-22

Labs 1-4, continued

March 25-29

Spring Break – No Laboratories

April 1-5

Labs 5-8 (see assignments; groups will rotate through these 4 experiments)

April 8-12

Labs 5-8, continued

April 15-19

Labs 5-8, continued

April 22-26

Labs 5-8, continued

April 29- May 3

Make-up Laboratory (if needed)

May 6-10

No Laboratory

*N.B.: This schedule is approximate, and may be adjusted as  neccessary, as dictated by weather, student needs and other factors.

General course information

Laboratory Instructors:



Lab Time




Office Hour



M 1230-1630



Time 1



M 1800-2200



Time 2



W 1230-1620



Time 3


not offered S13

Course Objectives

Students completing this course should have a basic understanding of instrumental measurements and how these are used in calibration and in standards addition. An exposure to propagation of analytical error will enable the student to estimate the error in a derived result. This course also exposes the student to detailed report writing of the sort done in many analytical laboratories.

Departmental Objectives:

This course meets Departmental Objectives 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.

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Page created by S. D. Brown  

Last updated 18 December 2012


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