On 2nd April, four Year 9 students represented Coloma at a Salters’ Festival of Chemistry at University College London. Niamh Duggan, Kimberly Ezan, Nathania Opedo and Megan Shakespeare worked in teams with other schools to take part in experiments in the university chemistry laboratories. Their task was to make a sample of paracetamol, and then analyse it to make sure that that was what they had actually produced.
They got to use techniques usually used at A level, or even degree level, including vacuum filtration, purification by recrystallisation, using a UV lamp to observe the results of their thin layer chromatography, taking a melting point and infrared spectroscopy. They then carried out tests on other samples of paracetamol provided to work out what impurities were present.
After a day working in the laboratories, the girls enjoyed a fun lecture in the university lecture theatre, finishing with eating some ice cream made using liquid nitrogen. They all worked really well, using techniques which were completely new to them, and enjoyed a taster of university life.