Friday, December 15, 2017


Branford, CT  2017

After a reaction is run chemists need to isolate the desired product from the reaction solvent and by-products.  One way to do this is to partition the reaction mixture between two immiscible solvents, in this case water and ethyl acetate.  You can shake both solvents in this funnel, and allow the layers to separate, much like oil and water separate.   The product of interest is more soluble in ethyl acetate, so it is extracted into that solvent.  Hopefully the water dissolves all the other impurities and is easily removed.  The extract is being dried here to remove some traces of water, before the solvent is evaporated as shown in an earlier post.  Most times my extractions are colorful like above.  When I'm lucky, they look very clean as below.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tools of the Trade - Rota-Vap

Branford, CT  2017

No synthetic organic chemistry lab would be complete without one of these.  The Rota-Vap is used to remove solvents under  a reduced pressure, or vacuum.  This lowers the boiling point of the solvents we use and allows them to be removed at reasonable temperatures under mild conditions.  The smoke you see in the bath is for effect only.  I accidentally spilled some dry ice in the water bath creating the classic chemistry lab/mad scientist scene portrayed in many movies.  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

New Sculpture

New London, CT  2017

I've noticed that new sculptures are appearing in public places around New London.  

Monday, December 11, 2017

First Snow II

Niantic, CT  2017

Another picture of our first snow of the year in southeast Connecticut.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

First Snow

Niantic, CT  2017

It isn't officially winter here yet, but we had our first measurable accumulation of snow yesterday into last evening.  Some parts of Connecticut saw up to 5", but here near the coast, we only had a couple of inches.   Most of the snow had melted by noon.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Gillette Castle State Park, East Haddam, CT  2017

Although this cabin is on the grounds of Gillette Castle State Park, it's a good brisk hike from here up  to the castle itself.