As part of their IB and AS Chemistry courses, Lower Sixth students visited the chemistry department at the University of Bristol. The morning was spent carrying out experiments in the under-graduate laboratories and in the afternoon they were entertained with a spectacular demonstration lecture.
The laboratory work was the extraction of caffeine from tea. The first step was to shake the tea with an organic solvent into which the caffeine was extracted. The solvent was then removed using a rotary evaporator leaving the caffeine – a surprisingly white solid. The students then used infra-red spectroscopy and melting point determination to confirm that the white solid was indeed caffeine! The students enjoyed the experience which gives a useful insight into university life.