Chem 31 – Quantitative Analysis

Spring 2012


Instructor:  Brad Baker

Office:  Sequoia Room 530

Phone:  278 – 7409


Office Hours:  Mondays, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm in Sequoia 530

                       Tuesdays, 11:00 am to 12:30 pm in Sequoia 530

                       and by appointment


Course website:

Lecture Meeting Time:  Mondays and Wednesdays 11:00 am  to 11:50 am

Lecture Location:  Sequoia 456

Lab Meeting Times:

            Section 2:  Mondays and Wednesdays, 8:00 to 10:30 am

            Section 3:  Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:30 to 4:00 pm

            Section 4:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:00 to 10:30 am

            Section 5:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:00 to 3:30 pm

Lab Location:  Sequoia 446


Midterm exams:  February 29 and April 18, during regularly scheduled class time.

Final exam:  Wednesday, May 16, 10:15 am – 12:15 pm in Sequoia 456

Textbook:  Quantitative Chemical Analysis (eighth edition), by Daniel C. Harris (required)

Lab Manual:  Inorganic Quantitative Analysis, Spring 2012 (required)


Prerequisites:  A C- or better in Chem 1A and Chem 1B or equivalent.


Overview:  The ability to accurately and precisely determine the amount of an unknown substance in a sample is critically important for a scientist in today’s world.  Careers in a broad range of fields such as forensics, medicine, and environmental monitoring, to name just a few, rely on quantitative chemistry skills to provide accurate and precise measurements that will guide decision making processes, provide better patient care, and lead to new scientific discoveries.  This semester you will learn the laboratory skills necessary to perform accurate and precise analyses on a range of liquid and solid samples containing various unknowns.  You will practice your skills as an analytical chemist and demonstrate your ability to provide accurate and precise results.  In the lecture you will learn the theory behind the techniques applied in the lab, how to report your data in the appropriate manner, and further your understanding of equilibrium chemistry.


Tentative Lecture Schedule:

Week of:  January 23 – Measurements, Precision and errors

                January 30 – Propagation of uncertainty, Statistics

                February 6 – Statistics, Chemical equilibrium

                February 13 – Solubility, Acids and bases

                February 20 – Acids and bases, Titrations 

                February 27 – Activity, Midterm

                March 5 – Multiple Equilibria

                March 12 – Regression, Calibration

                March 26 – Spectroscopy

                April 2 – Chromatography

                April 9 – Monoprotic Acids and Bases, Buffers

                April 16 – Buffers, Midterm

                April 23 – Polyprotic Acids and Bases, Polyprotic buffers

                April 30 – Polyprotic Acids and Bases, Acid/base titrations

                May 7 – Acid/base titrations


Adding and getting dropped:  There are usually more students wanting to take this course than we can accommodate.  We are ultimately limited by the amount of space and equipment available in the laboratory.  During the first week of lab, enrolled students that are late or do not attend the lab section to which they have enrolled will automatically be dropped from the course to make room for a more dedicated student.  If you wish to be added to the course, you must attend the lab section that you want to add and get your name on the add list.  Students will be added according to the following priority:  graduating seniors, seniors, juniors, sophomores, freshmen, second bachelors, and finally open university.  Chemistry majors will be given priority over all other majors regardless of class rank.  A student’s major is determined by their current classification; being in the process of changing majors does not count.  If you are enrolled in one lab section, but wish to switch to another, it is up to you to find someone enrolled in that section that is willing to switch positions with you, and then alert the instructors.


Grading:  Your final grade for Chem 31 will be based 55 % on the lecture, and 45% on the laboratory.


Lecture:  The lecture grade will consist of a cumulative final exam (35%), 2 midterms (25% each), and a quiz grade (15%).  If your overall quiz grade is greater than one of your midterm grades, then the quiz grade will additionally replace the low midterm grade.  In that case the quiz grade would count as 40% of the lecture grade.  Midterms may only be missed for an official university sponsored event or with a signed note from a medical doctor stating that you were too sick or injured to attend the exam.  A multiple choice quiz will be given every Wednesday at the beginning of class (13 total).  No partial credit is available on quizzes, however, you must show your work to receive any credit.  Quiz answers must be handed in on 8.5" x 11" paper that has not been ripped from a binder.  Your quiz grade will be the average of your highest 9 quiz scores.  Quizzes will cover material from the assigned reading and problems from the textbook (see the additional handout).  Quizzes cannot be made up for any reason and must be finished in the allotted time period.  You are responsible for material and concepts covered in the assigned reading and problems, and for information presented both visually and verbally in class.


Laboratory:  Your laboratory grade will consist of a laboratory notebook (10%), and 9 laboratory reports (90% total).  Laboratory notebooks will be checked twice at random times during the semester in lab.  Your laboratory notebook grade will be based on the criteria given on page 11 and 12 of your lab manual.  The grading of laboratory reports will be based primarily on the accuracy of the unknown analyses (more than 80% of the report grade), with a smaller fraction based on precision of analyses. Note that you will need to turn in a full report complete with graphs and or statistical analysis in some cases for it to be graded.  For the Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy experiment, a more detailed and formal lab report is required.  Details for the lab reports and specific grading of reports will be provided in the laboratory.


Assignment of grades:  The following grading scheme (excluding +’s and –‘s) can be considered "typical":
A 90 – 100%
B 79 – 89%
C 68 – 78%
D 57 – 67%

F  < 57%
The grading scale may be adjusted downward to increase the overall average letter grade of the class, but it will not be adjusted upward.  NOTE: There is a minimum score requirement of at least 50% in both the lecture and laboratory sections to get an overall grade of C- or above.


Course Objectives:

-Build an appreciation for the field of analytical chemistry.

-Develop the wet chemistry skills necessary to carry out precise concentration measurements in aqueous solutions.

-Learn how to evaluate the quantitative results of an experiment using statistical methods.

-Understand the fundamentals of chemical equilibrium.

-Understand the chemistry of strong and weak acids and bases, and buffer solutions.

-Become acquainted with some common analytical instrumentation.


Examples of Course Outcomes (by the end of this course, students should be able to):

-Report the result of an analysis using the proper number of significant figures, and provide the uncertainty in the result using accepted statistical methods.

-Use a spreadsheet to reduce calculation time when analyzing experimental data.

-Determine the concentration of a trace unknown in a liquid or solid sample to within a fraction of a percent precision.

-Use equilibrium constants to determine the concentration of a slightly soluble compound or mixture of compounds in aqueous solution.

-Predict the pH of an aqueous solution during the titration of strong and weak acids and bases.

-Understand buffer solutions and predict changes in pH of a buffer when an acid or base is added.

-Demonstrate the calculations necessary to produce a buffer solution of a specific pH.

-Produce a series of accurate and precise standards necessary for the calibration of modern chemical instrumentation.

-Obtain and interpret the results of chromatography and spectroscopy data.



I expect you to:

-Respect your classmates and instructor at all times.

-Be on time to class and lab.

-Come to class prepared with the assigned reading completed and ready to answer questions or work on problems in class.

-Spend time outside of class learning course material.

-Take responsibility for your own work, learning, and grades.

-Have academic integrity. 

            please see:

-Finish laboratory work in the assigned laboratory time.

-Be excited about learning and doing chemistry.


You should expect your instructors to:

-Respect students.

-Be on time to class and lab.

-Be knowledgeable and prepared to teach the course material.

-Treat and grade each student fairly and equally.

-Be at posted office hours and willing to assist you with coursework.

-Be enthusiastic about teaching course subject matter.