On the 11th of February 12 senior Chemistry students attended an analytical workshop at the faculty of Chemistry at Melbourne University.
The students had the opportunity to use highly technical analytical apparatus used for detecting and identifying chemical compounds and metal ions accurately and in very small concentrations. The accuracy of the machines meant that quantities as small as 1/10th of a gram per tonne of material could be detected.
The analytical techniques included;
1) Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, where the level of Calcium in seawater was determined.
2) U-V Visible Spectroscopy, where the concentration of Iron in a dietary supplement was determined.
3) Gas Chromatography, where the ethanol concentration in wine was determined.
4) High Performance Liquid Chromatography in which the concentration of Caffeine in a well-known cola drink was determined.
These instruments have become somewhat familiar through the popularity of CSI type television programs and can be seen functioning at airports where they are used to detect narcotics and explosive compounds.