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Lab techniques/tricks they don't teach in books

  1. Jun 24, 2011 #1
    What are some tricks you have up your sleeve in the lab that they really don't teach you in any book and that you can only gain through experience in the lab?

    -One of my favorites is when you take an impure organic compound, put it in a flask with hexanes, and spin it on a warm water bath without vacuum for 10 minutes, filter it and it comes out insanely pure after filtration. Doesn't always work, but it a nice and fast trick to try to save time instead of doing a column or recrystalization. Heck sometimes a column is difficult and this works better than it.

    -Stuck glassware? tap it lightly with something wooden or even more lightly with then end of a pair of metal scissors around the joint and off it comes.

    I can probably think of more later. What tricks do you have?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2011 #2


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    Add some DMF (a few drops) to your reaction to make acyl chlorides with SOCl2. Its more better gooder with it than without it. Be sure to add the DMF before you add the SOCl2!

    You can dry a sample by adding some heptane and rotovaping it to dryness several times.
  4. Jun 30, 2011 #3
    Never lift a volumetric flash by the neck, we have a lovely purple strain in the middle of the workshop where someone lifted a volumetric flask by the neck and the seam between the bulbous bottom and the thinner neck gave way and dropped a load of dye for aluminium anodized parts.l
  5. Jun 30, 2011 #4


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    Never let your grad students drink decaffeinated coffee ... their productivity will drop. Also, avoid having windows and clocks in your research labs. :biggrin:
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