Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Discussion Questions From Your Mentor

Upload the questions that were posed by your mentor here and answer them.

Our Achievements

  • What did you achieve by completing this project? When answering this question, consider both personal and academic development.
  • Post photographs and videos that you recorded during the project here.
  • Describe how the design of your experiment or the design of your product allowed you to achieve the projects desired outcomes.
  • Identify possible limitations (restrictions) to your project. When answering this question, consider the design of your experiment or the design of your product.
  • Suggest possible improvements that could be made in order to minimize the limitations that you have identified.


1. What does the group need to accomplish by the end of the project?

FASTEST BALL CHALLENGE: The main objective of this challenge is to determine the angle of inclination, 0 , for which the time of travel across the horizontal track will be least. We will have to make use of the concepts of conservation of energy, kinetic and potential energy to win this challenge. Students will also make use of a stopwatch and photogate sensors in their data acquisition.

CAFFEINE EXTRACTION: In this experiment you will extract caffeine from tea. You will encounter the following techniques:
1) B├╝chner filtration
2) Solvent extraction
3) Distillation using a rotary evaporator

2. How will you know whether or not your project has been successful? 

FASTEST BALL CHALLENGE: Our ball will be the fastest among everyone else's balls! And our calculations will be precise and accurate, supporting our hypothesis.

CAFFEINE EXTRACTION: We are able to successfully extract the encouraged amount of caffeine using all three methods.


Read the introduction, objectives and theoretical background to the project and then answer the following questions:
  • What main theory or concept is the project based on?
The application of the conservation of energy principle provides a powerful tool for problem solving. Newton's laws are used for the solution of many standard problems, but often there are methods using energy which are more straightforward. For example, the solution for the impact velocity of a falling object is much easier by energy methods. The basic reason for the advantage of the energy approach is that just the beginning and ending energies need be considered; intermediate processes do not need to be examined in detail since conservation of energy guarantees that the final energy of the system is the same as the initial energy. In this exercise, make use of the principle of conservation of energy to solve the challenge.

A useful rule of thumb for judging solubility is “like dissolves like”. Organic compounds tend to be soluble in organic solvents. Polar materials, such as salts tend to be more soluble in polar solvents, such as water.
Some organic compounds are exceptions and are more soluble in water than in organic solvents. This is because they have a large number of polar functional Groups, such as hydroxyl groups, relative to the amount of hydrocarbon. Glucose is an example of this kind of molecule.
In general, an organic compound and an inorganic salt can be easily separated using these solubility differences. If a mixture of 1-4 dimethoxybenzene and lithium chloride is dissolved in a mixture of diethyl ether and water, both will dissolve. The mixture will separate into two clear layers. One will be the “organic layer” and it will contain the 1-4, dimethoxybenzene. The other will be the aqueous layer, and it will contain the lithium chloride. If the organic layer is separated from the aqueous, dried to remove traces of water and then evaporated, pure 1-4, dimethoxybenzene will be obtained.

  • What do you already know about this theory or concept?
As for the theory of energy conservation: Energy cannot be destroyed nor created, it can only be converted from other forms of energy. 

Caffeine is an example of a type of organic weak base called an alkaloid – alkaloid means "alkali-like‟. Caffeine is a stimulant and is found naturally in tea, coffee and kola nuts. Other examples of alkaloids include cocaine (a drug of abuse), strychnine (a poison), morphine (a pain killer), piperine (found in black pepper) and quinine (used to treat malaria and added to tonic!). Clearly some alkaloids are beneficial and others extremely harmful.

Our Team

Our team consists of:
Cowan Ho (S2-02)
Dylan Loo (S2-07)