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JoVE Lab Manual
Lab: Chemistry

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Proper Lab Notebook Keeping

Proper Lab Notebook Keeping

Learning Objectives

At the end of this lab, students should know...

What is the purpose of a lab notebook?

A lab notebook provides an accurate record of the experiment performed. This is important to ensure reproducibility. A lab notebook is also a legal document that proves originality and ownership of research.

What kind of book can be used as a lab notebook?

A lab notebook must be bound with no loose pages. For lab classes, a notebook with self-duplicating pages is preferred so that a copy can be removed and given to the instructor.

What sections must be included for each experiment performed?

For every experiment performed, a pre-lab report, all observations and results, and a post-lab report must be generated.

What information should be included in the pre-lab report?

The pre-lab report should contain the objective of the experiment, any necessary background information, all balanced chemical reactions, the relevant physical properties and hazards of all reagents, any calculated theoretical yields, and a step-by-step procedure summarizing the experiment.

What information should be recorded during the lab experiment?

All relevant observations, such as temperature, pH, and changes in color, should be recorded. All data must be recorded in the lab notebook unless the data was collected electronically. The exact mass of the reactants and products, as well as the names of any computer files generated, should also be recorded. Any modifications to the procedure must be noted.

List of Materials

  • Lab stand
  • 2-prong clamp
  • 50-mL beaker
  • 100-mL beaker
  • 250-mL beaker
  • 400-mL beaker
  • 600-mL beaker
  • 10-mL graduated cylinder
  • 50-mL graduated cylinder
  • 25-mL Erlenmeyer flask
  • 250-mL filter flask
  • 20-mL test tube
  • Glass stirring rod
  • 10-cm Büchner funnel with rubber filter adapter
  • Thermometer (acid-resistant)
  • Pipette bulbs
  • Lab tape
    5 rolls
  • Marker or pen
  • 18.4 M Sulfuric acid (98 wt%)
    100 mL
  • 15.7 M Nitric acid (68-70 wt%)
    100 mL
  • Methyl benzoate
    20 mL
  • Ice machine or crushed ice
    5 L
  • Deionized water
    250 mL
  • Weighing boats
  • 20-mL glass bottle with acid-resistant cap
  • Pasteur pipettes
    Dependent on lab size
  • Circular filter papers
  • Laboratory wipes
    Dependent on lab size
  • Top-loading balance (at least 1)
    Dependent on lab size
  • Spatula
  • 10-mL graduated cylinder
  • Glass funnel
  • Sodium bicarbonate
    500 g

Lab Prep

Source: Lara Al Hariri at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA, USA

  1. Preparation of the Laboratory

    Here, we show the laboratory preparation for 10 students working in pairs, with some excess. Please adjust quantities as needed.

    • Put on a lab coat, splash-proof safety glasses, and nitrile gloves. You'll work in a fume hood because these acids are toxic and corrosive.
    • Ensure that the lab has containers for concentrated acid waste, aqueous acid waste, and glass waste.
    • Prepare a bottle of concentrated sulfuric acid for each student group. Measure 10 mL of 98% w/w sulfuric acid with a graduated cylinder and pour it into 20-mL bottles using a funnel. Tightly cap the bottles and label them with the solution name and concentration.
    • Prepare a bottle of nitric acid for each student group. Measure 10 mL of 70% w/w nitric acid with a clean graduated cylinder and pour it into 20-mL bottles via a clean funnel. Cap the bottles and label them with the name and concentration.
    • Set one bottle of nitric acid and one bottle of sulfuric acid at each hood.
    • Place a bottle of methyl benzoate in a common hood.
    • Put Pasteur pipettes and circular filter papers on a central bench.
    • Confirm that the balance area has enough weighing boats, spatulas, and lab wipes for the class.
    • Set out the following glassware and equipment at each student lab station (we suggest that students work in pairs):
       2    Lab stands
       3    Small 2-prong clamps
       2    100-mL beakers
       1    250-mL beaker
       1    400-mL beaker
       1    600-mL beaker
       3    10-mL graduated cylinder
       1    50-mL graduated cylinder
       1    25-mL Erlenmeyer flask
       1    250-mL filter flask
       1    20-mL test tube
       1    Glass stirring rod
       1    Large Büchner funnel
       1    Rubber filter adapter
       1    Thermometer
       2    Pipette bulbs
       1    Roll of lab tape
       1    Marker/pen
       3    Small beakers

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