Macromolecular Systems I & II           cmclogo.gif (7533 bytes)   


Chem 4010/4011 ---- Macromolecular Systems I

Introduction:  The idea of MS-I is integrated lab-lecture experience.  Ideally, you would see things in the lab a little ahead of lecture.  This will not always be possible.  We also use the lab experience to establish basic skills (really nitty-gritty stuff like soldering and plumbing) and the special skills of the macromolecular scientist or engineer. 

 Rules and Realities:  In order to provide modern training, we often  rely on the research equipment.  Try not to break this stuff--there are no funds to repair it.  Careless, frivolous or unsafe use of research equipment is a good way to receive an F in this course. 

 Cost:  If you are a graduate student in the Chemistry Department, your research group's weekly budget almost certainly exceeds the total allocated for this course.  There are also space constraints; use of the designated lab room (230) is restricted to times when the organic labs are not scheduled.  Under no circumstances can you prepare any solutions in labs (236-238), unless you are a o group member.  Therefore, you are encouraged to use your research group's space and such non-perishable resources from your research group as you can.  For example, if beakers, flasks, stirrers, balances, computers, etc., from your research group can be used without interrupting the normal flow of research please try to do so.  Do not appropriate from your research group (or mine!) anything that seems valuable or difficult to clean (polymers are gunky).  We can buy those things.  Do not "borrow" anything from my lab.  

 Text:  none.  We shall rely on "HowTo" handouts, which are accessible through my web-site:  Follow "courses" link and then select this course.  The internet browsers available in the Chemistry library are configured to be able to read the Word files.  

Lab Books:  Buy a lab book similar to the ones for sale in the bookstore; they are said to be cheaper (in price and quality; good lab books are sewn) at Walmart or Office Depot.  The first 5-10 pages of the lab book will contain an up-to-date table of contents.  All experimental results, reports and ideas should be written, stapled or taped into the notebook.  Important references, results of telephone conversations, FAXes, e-mails, etc. all have a valid place in your notebook.  You are encouraged to write in ballpoint or other relatively indelible ink.*  You MUST NOT erase or white out anything.  Mistakes are to be crossed out, explained and initialed.  NEVER hand-copy anything into a notebook; for example, if you write a balance reading on a paper towel, I shall expect to see that paper towel stapled or taped into the lab book!  You may take the lab book home when you go, and you may retain it when the course is done.  If it were a real, working lab, you would always leave the book behind for security and for future use by your employer. 

 *Most scientists hate pencils.  


 ALL SAMPLES WILL BE LABELED AS FOLLOWS:  4010.XY.#, where XY are your initials and # is the number of the sample.  The # WILL proceed chronologically.  Other sample codes that mean something to you (e.g., Cmax or Sample "A.5.3") can appear IN ADDITION TO a sample number as described.  I will gleefully throw away any improperly labeled samples, and you will have to remake them. 

ALL SAMPLES MUST BE SAFELY DESTROYED IN AN ENVIRONMENTALLY ACCEPTABLE MANNER.  The only acceptable compounds for "sink disposal" are lower alcohols (methanol, ethanol, the propanols), acetone, and acids and bases.  Not more than 200 ml of each of these per day is permissible, and always flush with copious water. 

Glassware:  Glass not originating in your research group (and, preferably that glassware too!) must be returned after cleaning according to instructions that will be provided later.  Glassware is expensive.  Failure to return it or clean it properly will result in an F grade. 

Access:  We cannot hand out keys to 230.  You can gain access by asking the TA or any of the professors.  

Safety:  Eye protection is required at all times.  At a minimum, this eyeware should be as safe as a typical pair of corrective eyeglasses.  Contact lenses are not allowed without goggles.  Persistent abuse will result in expulsion from the course.  Some of the solvents with which you will come into contact (e.g., THF) are dangerous.  You will be expected to know the MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheet) information for all solvents and polymers with which you work.  Use gloves as appropriate.  You should not wear shorts in the lab. 

 Reports:  There are not reports per se'.  Since lab is integrated with lecture, you will do most of your reporting as part of homework sets and/or exams.  Treat your lab notebook like a real research notebook.  Each experiment should start with a "plan" of action that describes the general research objectives.  The observations made (both numeric and qualitative) follow that.  Some conclusion at the end of the experiment should help you or other readers figure out what the experiment meant. 

Grades:  The grade is integrated into your 4010 grade.  If you don't break anything carelessly, work safely, are a good team player, abide by the rules above and other policies established during the semester, present your results reasonably well, and are not a total klutz, you will do OK.  'A' grades will be awarded to individuals showing above average promise in laboratory operations, resourcefulness, cleverness, cheerfulness, and imagination.  These qualities can be displayed during the lecture sessions, in the reports, and most importantly in the lab.