Chemistry Clinic - October 2018

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. 

We're back

Hello! Just us again… back with our haunted edition of scientific developments in the Clinic this Halloween season. Though the trees may be looking bare outside, our calendars certainly aren’t.


Starting with our research and development projects, we have hit some bumps along the way. That being said, with every failure comes some form of success and that seems to be ringing true for the team.

Despite the glowing properties of our unique, luminescent product … it has caused some of the darkest days this month. However, we do seem to have found some light in the situation and are on track to finalising the composition of our non-toxic material in the coming weeks.

In true “wax-on, wax-off” fashion, the team have managed to prepare 5 prototypes for analysis. At present, all we can say is that they’re not quite as aesthetically pleasing as a Madame Tussauds waxwork may be. However, for the invaluable purpose they’ll serve in the food industry – we’ll take the hit.

Now, it’s not all lab-rat business within the Chemistry Clinic. The end of the month saw two of our members, Cirsty and Peter, meeting with a well-established client. Accompanying John Liggat and Sharon Ingram, the pair were able to gain a full understanding of how to meet project criteria while balancing out costs and general feasibility of the client’s vision. Having laid out a plan of attack, it seems Cirsty and Peter will be busy on this particular project well into the New Year.


It’s been an exciting month of new ideas within our schools projects. As a team we have been assigned the task of compiling two separate experimental procedures that can be included in the list of Advanced Higher Final Projects currently available in schools. At present we are focussing on pH indicators with one group assigned phenolphthalein and the other group working on methyl orange. The theory behind the experiments has been completed and it is a case of perfecting the practical side of things over the next few weeks.

As mentioned in last month’s blog, our calendar has started to fill up with bookings for Advanced Higher project analysis and also some STEM Ambassador events. Next month we will document how the team have survived their adventures outside of the safe haven we call – The Thomas Graham Building.


As the old saying goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and we’ve certainly managed to branch out and widen our social network this month. Having attended a lecture - by guest speaker Shunsuke Chiba (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) - on molecular transformation by main group metal hydrides, we as a team (though academically… just slightly…out our depth) had our eyes opened to the on-going research occurring in the world of chemistry, as we speak.

We also had the pleasure of meeting Gerry Black (Knowledge Transfer and Open Innovation Specialist) and Richard Lamb (Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Manager at Innovate UK) who wanted an overview of the work carried out by the Chemistry Clinic. The Knowledge Transfer program seems to be a thriving area in the field of chemistry at present and has given the team an insight to future job prospects.

And to round off the area of networking, our team are now the proud owners of their very own LinkedIn profiles. With guidance from Anna Selwood of the University of Strathclyde Careers Service, we are ready for connecting to our fellow budding chemists out there.

What's ahead?

As you can tell, it has been a busy month of finding our feet in the department and settling into our roles. However, with that out the way we now look on to what next month will bring and it seems to be that November is filling up with more dates than a sticky toffee pudding.


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

Chemistry Clinic Team

Peter in the lab working on pH indicator experiments for school projects