Chemistry Clinic - Autumn 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. 

New Team

Hi everyone, we are the Chemistry Clinic Team for 2019/20: Jack Peggie, Lucy Tappin, Hayley Ryan and Zoe McKinnon. The Chemistry Clinic helps small businesses and also serves as a placement year for the penultimate year of our Masters degree in Chemistry.

Dr Sharon Ingram, Dr Brian McMillan and Dr John Liggat run the Chemistry Clinic, often working in partnership with colleagues – not only in the Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry but also with other Departments and Faculties in the University.

Projects and training

So far, we have had training for a variety of instrumentation thanks to John Liggat’s PhD students and Craig Irving. Once this was completed, we started experiments on some commercial projects.

We have all practiced our presentation skills in front of Brian, Sharon and the rest of the team. Topics included some of the things we learned about ‘microplastics’. We were given helpful feedback on how to improve in the future.

Hayley and Lucy have ownership of a project which develops a new cleaning formulation. They have also started research on functional ‘paint’. Jack and Zoe are working on a cutting-edge invention - formulating the pigmentation and materials.

School Outreach

Not only do we help with commercially focused chemistry projects, but we also run a variety of events and workshops to support and inspire school pupils and will soon be trained STEM Ambassadors. Our events include inviting S6 pupils who are working towards their Advance Higher Chemistry in to the University. As well as running analysis on the compounds generated during their investigation, we show the pupils around the Department to see labs and lecture halls.

St Joseph’s College in Dumfries have invited us along to talk to their students in a ‘speed dating’ style event - talking about university life, our courses and potential career paths. We hope to be able to give them a better understanding of what it is like study at Strathclyde.

We will also be at Glasgow Science Centre in mid-November, hosting a Forensic Science workshop for young people attending STEMGlasgow’s annual STEMfest event.

Watch out for our Instagram takeover on @StrathScience on week commencing 25th November for more insights into our activities and events.

West of Scotland Meeting for Teachers of Chemistry

Every January, Dr Patrick Thompson and Dr Alastair Wark welcome teachers to the West of Scotland Meeting for Teachers of Chemistry, which includes updates on developments in the area and practical ideas for the lab. This year, the four of us are helping to develop two new lab projects and present them to the teachers.

Hayley and Lucy have looked at peer reviewed literature and are developing a safe and easy way to synthesise carbon quantum dots from lemon juice. These quantum dots fluoresce under UV light and vary in colour depending which acid is incorporated.

Jack and Zoe are working on the synthesis of copper nanoparticles. They are trying to come up with a cheap and easy way of doing so that is still fun to do.

What’s next?

We are excited to see what developments will unfold in our commercial projects and looking forward to spreading the ‘chemistry’ word at the school outreach events.