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Chemistry EE - Topic (adsorption, most likely)

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Initially, I had chosen to investigate the Briggs-Rauscher oscillating reaction for my EE. However; I realised that the complexity of the reaction would probably mean that half my essay would consist of explanations of various reaction mechanisms. Therefore, I came up with a few other ideas, and I'd like to hear your views on them.

I think it would be interesting to investigate some form of adsorption process, and I'm thinking of doing it in the context of water defluoridation (though I'm in no way stuck with this). There are tons of possible variables to investigate: pH, temperature, competitor ions; and I could investigate their effect on rate or adsorption capacity. Potential issues:

  • Is this too closely related to physics?
  • Fluoride concentrations in water are typically rather low (up to 100 mg/l). Do you think it is possible to conduct the experiment in a school setting and get accurate results?
  • There is already a significant amount of research in this field, and especially the connections between pH and adsorption capacity are already well established. Does this matter?

Alternatively, I could take a look at optical rotation, perhaps the rate of mutarotation of glucose and how it is affected by pH. While this seems interesting, I'm not sure about how feasible it is - it seems to be rather difficult to determine the rate using polarimetry.

Of course, if you have any modifications or suggestions, feel free to share them!

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IB says you should add some personal approaches to the known results, for example you may encounter some unexpected problems by conducting the experiment at a different scale as the known results and you can show your ways of overcoming these challenges. 

You should read and reference existing studies which will likely answer questions of physics vs chemistry and concentration of fluoride. 

In another matter, adsorption is heavily used in chemistry, such as in various chromatography techniques where chemists separate compounds by polarity. This is discussed briefly in the HL topic 21. 

When you change in pH, you have to consider if you get any reactions. For example if glucose reacts with sulfuric acid then that's not desirable.

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