Chemistry Clinic - April 2019

The Chemistry Clinic is a student led consultancy in the University of Strathclyde. Working with entrepreneurs with brand new ideas right through to supporting school students, they deal with a wide range of enquiries. 

This placement opportunity during their Chemistry degree gives students the chance to implement the knowledge they have gathered so far during their three years of studying and fine-tune their practical laboratory skills. They also have the chance to grow on a personal basis in various forms of communication and organisation skills that are tested throughout the year. The team also partake in various school events and tasks both within the University of Strathclyde and around the country - as STEM Ambassadors - to further the development of the scientific world. 

Research and Development Projects

Things are getting a bit fishy this month as Peter and Cirsty undertake their next project that is certain to leave a lingering smell around the lab. Their task is to determine the varying levels of specific chemicals related to the shelf-life of seafood. You never quite know which direction chemistry may send you in and it’s off to the Fishmonger’s for this pair. The project has exposed the team to different aspects of chromatography, where they have learned the ins and outs of the gas chromatography (GC) instrument. Peter has become quite the expert in this area, as he helped dismantle and reconstruct the GC alongside Ms. Pat Keating. Having met with the client, Cirsty and Peter have more clarity on the project outcomes and a better insight to the business sector of chemistry.

Ben and Jonny have also met with their client this month to discuss a new cleaning product. They have now laid down the ground work in a bid to create a new multi-surface cleaner – one that might even eradicate more than the 99.9 % of bacteria that populate our kitchen counters. Having ordered in tiles, they aim to test the effectiveness of a variety of surfactants on the classic household stains before making their own formulations.

Extracurricular Activities

Having submitted the second of the Distance Learning Assignments, the team are now focussed on completing their final reports. As this is a credited year, there are certain course requirements that must be fulfilled to progress onto the 5th and final year. Juggling these deadlines has tested the organisational skills of the team, as they must complete these academic tasks while also keeping on top of their placement work.  

Engage Event

We would like to remind everyone about our Engage with Strathclyde event taking place on Tuesday 30th April 2019, with the presentations taking place between 4.00pm and 5.30pm. The event will be held in the Technology & Innovation Centre (TIC) on campus, hosted by Dr Sharon Ingram. With a number of speakers from various backgrounds, including our own Cirsty and Peter, this is a great opportunity to showcase some of the work we do in the Chemistry Clinic and how it may benefit you. This is an open event so if you have an interest in business start-ups; applying to the Chemistry Clinic for your placement year or even just general interest in how we could assist you in various tasks, please register for our free event. It's also a great opportunity for networking and refreshments will be provided too.

What’s Next?

May is set to be focussed around our new projects and finalising our final placement reports. As much of the background work has been completed for the commercial projects, it will be full-steam ahead on the lab work front.

Written by Ben Clark, Jonny Clark, Cirsty Gillies & Peter MacDonald

Chemistry Clinic Team

Ben carrying out reflectance testing in order to determine effectiveness of cleaning products.