Limiting reagents

Limiting reagents is a concept that is easy to understand in one context... but tricky to understand in another. Before I expand on this statement, what do I mean by limiting reagents? Well, unless you have some super precise mass balances, when carrying out a chemical reaction you will always add too many atoms / molecules / particles of one substance and not enough of the other. The one that you have added too much of is the reagent that is ...

Synthesis of Aspirin

Aspirin has been with us for long time - the first documented reports of its use occurred over 2000 years ago. That said, the aspirin may not be in the form that you instantly think of (ie, a tablet) but it has been used all the same. Aspirin is an analgesic, which means it has pain killing effects and it has been well documented that the ancient Egyptians used a special tea made out of willow bark to treat a number ...

PRE IB: Practical work – good practice

This blog was written by Dave Allen, an experienced IB Chemistry teacher. To read more Chemistry blogs for students and teachers, click here. This is the fourth and final blog post on pre-IB Chemistry. I do hope you have found the mini-series interesting and helpful, hopefully it will have talked you into deciding to follow chemistry at diploma level! This blog post will involve an introduction to lab (practical) work at IB level. You may or may not be aware that your IB ...

PRE IB: The Basics – Bonds

This blog was written by Dave Allen, an experienced IB Chemistry teacher. To read more Chemistry blogs for students and teachers, click here. Knowing your bonds (and structures). This blog post will (hopefully) refresh your memory on bonds and structures that you will need to familiar with in IB Chemistry. Firstly, the bonds When atoms join, we say they ‘bond’ and electrons are the part of the atom that are involved in bonding. There are two types of bond that this blog post will cover: Ionic ...

PRE IB: The Basics – Moles

This blog was written by Dave Allen, an experienced IB Chemistry teacher. To read more Chemistry blogs for students and teachers, click here. Yes, you have read that correctly – we get moles in Chemistry as well as Biology. However, our mole is not the small furry type – it's a number! You see, in Chemistry we count things not the obvious way (i.e., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on) but by using a word – the ‘mole’ – to represent ...

PRE IB: Why Chemistry?

This blog was written by Dave Allen, an experienced IB Chemistry teacher. To read more Chemistry blogs for students and teachers, click here. This is the first blog post of four offering students advice on the IBDP Chemistry course (both SL and HL). The four posts will consist of information on the following: Why Chemistry? What is the attraction of Chemistry and what can you expect from the course The Basics – knowing your moles The Basics – knowing your bonds (and ...

Carrying out a good IA project

Have you stated your Internal Assessment(IA) yet? If you are a 'May session' school, this anytime from May of IB1 until December of IB2 seems a likely time that your school will carry this out with you and ask you to write it up. Which means that you need to get some ideas on what types of things you can investigate. However, the aim of this blog post is to give you some ideas for writing and carrying out a good ...

VX – What is it?

Over this last month or so, the nerve agent VX has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons but I did think it was worth looking at the chemistry of this molecule in this moths blog post. The obvious question is what is it? VX, or, to use the full IUPAC name is actually Ethyl ({2-ethyl}sulfanyl)(methyl)phosphinate. It is referred to as VX as it is a ‘V’ series of nerve agents (‘V’ stands for venom) and was first syntheiszed in the ...

Metallic Hydrogen and Scepticism

Scientists are supposed to be sceptical of others claims – you will encounter this in NOS (NOS 1.7 ‘Scientists must adopt a sceptical attitude to claims’). Why do I quote this? Well, you may have recently read or seen in the news that a new form (state) of Hydrogen has been produced. Hydrogen has been subjected to incredibly high pressure (495GPa or 495,000,000,000Pa – that’s 495 billion Pa). By contrast, standard atmospheric pressure is around 100,000Pa so this value is getting ...

Become a Future Science Leader!

No matter whether you’re an aspiring Biologist, Physicist, Chemist, or inventor, the IB Diploma is a fantastic stepping stone to studying your subject at university. However, an ambitious student can be left directionless with so many choices and questions – which subject should I follow? How do I break in to the science industry? With that question in mind our academics set about creating the perfect course for aspirant scientists - “Future Science Leader”. What is it? Future Science Leaders is a new ...