Chemistry Clinic - February 2020

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. 

The Chemistry Clinic provide an update on their projects, studies and outreach activities.

Advanced Higher Visits

Over the next few months we have Advanced Higher Chemistry students visiting the University to run analysis on the samples they have synthesis for their projects. We have a variety of samples to analyse using NMR, UV-Vis spectrometry, GC-MS and IR spectrometry. We still have some availability, therefore if you are interested in bringing your class along, email Dr Sharon Ingram for more information.

USS Alba Outreach to Youth Groups

Recently we have been on the road with our forensic workshop the “USS Alba”. We have worked with the company section of the 1st Elderslie Boys’ Brigade. The young people really enjoyed the workshop which had them analysing fingerprints and mysterious powders. They were also looking at DNA profiling and blood typing. We are looking forward to taking the workshop to the 141st Glasgow Guides at the beginning of March.

West of Scotland Meeting for Teachers of Chemistry

On the 15th January, the University hosted the annual West of Scotland Meeting for Teachers of Chemistry to discuss the new Advanced Higher projects, two of which the Chemistry Clinic helped to make, in conjunction with Dr Alastair Wark. The projects were copper nanoparticles and carbon quantum dots!

The event was spilt into two parts, a seminar and the practical side of the project. The Chemistry Clinic Team was in the lab throughout the day helping and talking to teachers about the new projects. The teachers had a look around the lab to see other experiments that were available, even table-top NMR! This was a great experience, not only for the teachers, but for us too.

Commercial Projects

We have been developing formulations for new products. In collaboration with commercial partners, we have been assessing and refining to meet their requirements. Engaging with inventors and established businesses, not only ensures that the project is on target, but increases our commercial understanding and how constraints may differ to an exclusively academic project.

Activity in the Chemistry Clinic is ever increasing, including a number of requests for material characterisation. For these clients, quality, or product performance has changed, and they are eager to assess the ingredients and final product to understand and control their manufacturing process.

Zoe and Hayley are learning how to use MALDI (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation) for a new project. This industrially faced project is with clients who have a very established relationship with the University of Strathclyde. We will assessing by-products in polymers. This is an exciting opportunity as not many people have experience using MALDI.

Literature Review

We started our literature reviews in November with each of us having a different topic, some of which overlapped. It was hard going reading through scientific literature. However, we submitted our final draft in December. This has been a great experience and we have gained an important skill that will help us in final year and in the future.

Distance learning

During our placement year, we have three distance learning assignments to complete– one down, two to go. The completed assignment was defined according to degree stream. Jack, Zoe and Lucy learnt about f-block elements and Hayley was working on process analysis. The next topic for all of us is Oxidation and Reduction Processes. Jack is particularly looking forward to this one.


Chemistry Clinic Team, 2019

Jack Peggie, Lucy Tappin, Hayley Ryan and Zoe McKinnon

Chemistry Clinic

Study Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde