Tuesday, June 28, 2011

All the colors of the rainbow

Lab work is definitely different here.  Making almost all your chemicals from scratch gives you a whole new perspective on how to measure water quality parameters.  Before working in the lab at USF I had only used the Hach kits.  With those you take your test tube a little sample dump in some packets of something, cook, then voila total phosphorous.  Now I really get to play chemist.  I have to make up liquid chemicals, then mix those together, work with strong acids, boil the strong acids (which takes a lot longer than you would expect), mix some more stuff together, and eventually somewhere in there I have something I can use to measure total phosphorous.  The advantages is that this way I get to make all sorts of pretty colors…  Phosphorous gives me pink/red and blue, ammonia gives me green and yellow, I just need something that makes orange, violet, and indigo....

Ooooo...ahhhhh....

Suzie


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