CHEM409-001/2             Physical Chemistry Laboratory (CRN 15675/15676)                        Fall 2022

                                Hybrid Instruction ~  F2F Lab Contact TW 2-4:50 (1 credit hour)


Dr. Maria C. Gelabert Artiles

Office/Phone: 314A Sims Science Building/803-323-4939

Office Hours – M 12:30-1:30, T 9:30-10:30 (Sims 305A), F 3:30-4:30 (Zoom) or by appointment

Slack Invitation to Pchem Lab (use Winthrop email address)

Lab Schedule


Course Synopsis and Goals

In this laboratory course, experiments are completed that connect with the CHEM407 lecture material. Besides laboratory skills, techniques in data collection, error estimation and propagation, calculations, data presentation and scientific writing are practiced. Important corollary skills include keeping a clear, well-organized lab notebook and synthesizing all material into a comprehensive lab report.

Learning Outcomes and Products

Upon completion of this course, students will demonstrate their mastery with the following:

·      Clear pre-lab notes, experimental description and raw data;

·      Effective manipulation of data;

·      Appropriate assignment of errors and propagation of those errors;

·      Comparison of experimental results with accepted values and reference citation;

·      Reports that are clearly written, organized, with correct calculations and appropriate citations.

Lab Schedule (page 7)

Required Materials

Non-spiral composition book, 80-100 pp, lined or quadrille

safety goggles

Highly recommended: Spartan Student Edition, v. 8 ($25 with coupon code WINTHROP25)

University Competencies

Competency 1: Winthrop graduates think critically and solve problems. You will practice various levels of problem-solving, thoroughly analyze data, and use outside sources for further analysis.

Competency 2: Winthrop graduates are personally and socially responsible. You will practice standard chemical hygiene and safety protocols, signatures of scientific responsibility.

Competency 3: Winthrop graduates understand the interconnected nature of the world and the time in which they live. You will connect with other scientists with the understanding that good communication translates into effective science communication to the broader community.

Competency 4: Winthrop graduates communicate effectively. You will practice communication: data is recorded, analyzed, and written up into a report that contains numerical and written information.

Student Conduct Code

As noted in the Student Conduct Code: ''Responsibility for good conduct rests with students as adult individuals.'' The policy on student academic misconduct is outlined in Section V of the Student Conduct Code in the online Student Handbook.


Blackboard will be used for Pre-Lab materials and assignments. Please familiarize yourself with the course page and consult Blackboard Tutorials or Help ( as needed.


COVID-19 Statement

The health and safety of the campus community is Winthrop’s top priority. As socially responsible members of this community, everyone is expected to engage in daily health self-monitoring and to stay home (residence hall or off-campus housing) from on-campus class, work, or activities if they begin experiencing any COVID-related symptoms. Please do not attend class if you have a fever or any signs of the COVID virus, do not attend class if your roommate or someone you have close contact with acquires the virus, and be respectful of others’ desire to remain COVID-free. Masking on campus remains optional but strongly encouraged, especially in indoor settings around others. Use the Patient Portal COVID-19 form to report illness or exposure and upload the positive test, if relevant. Students who violate WU guidelines will be asked to comply. Continued failure to comply may result in referral to the Dean of Students Office as a student conduct violation.

COVID-Related Absence

Students should contact Health Services regarding a positive test, close contact, or enhanced COVID-like symptoms. Any student who has either tested positive, has COVID-like symptoms, or has close contact with someone who has COVID, must contact Health Services. Students should log in to the Patient Portal to complete a C19 form and upload the positive test, if relevant.  Health Services will communicate with the student on what steps to take next, and if need be, the Dean of Students Office will receive absence verification for required isolation and quarantine.  Students who verify their absences through the Dean of Students Office often minimize any academic impact caused by missed class time. Students retain a responsibility to communicate with instructors regarding missed work, and complete assignments in a timely manner as they are able. Regular communication with faculty is expected so that student progress in the course is not negatively impacted. Health Services will only provide dates of absence, not medical information. Please note, residential students who test positive must follow their personal COVID Quarantine and Isolation Plan. In person classes generally will not have a remote option; students should not expect to have remote access to the class lecture or discussion, even in the case of absence.

Students with Disabilities/Need of Accommodations for Access

Winthrop University is dedicated to providing access to education. If you have a disability and require specific accommodations to complete this course, contact the Office of Accessibility (OA) at 803-323-3290 or Once you have your official notice of accommodations from the Office of Disability Services, please inform me as early as possible in the semester.

Campus Resources for Online Learners

Students who are enrolled in hybrid/online courses are entitled to the same campus resources available to on-campus students. These resources included admissions counseling, library, student services, and recreational facilities. A list of these resources is provided in the Blackboard Tutorials & Campus Resources, found in Blackboard.

Copyright Notice

The materials in this course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course and for purposes associated with this course.  These materials may not be retained or further disseminated.

Syllabus Change Policy

I reserve the right to update and edit this syllabus as necessary, including assignments, the calendar, and policies. You will be notified immediately of any such changes.


Course Communication

1.    Plan to be “present” in the course by logging in at least 3-4 times weekly and completing all assignments by their due dates.

2.    For email, it is essential that you use your Winthrop account; Bb and Slack use only your WU credentials. Approximate response times: Bb few days, email one day, Slack most immediate. On weekends, expect longer response times, up to ≈48 hours.

3.    If you have a general question that might be asked by other students, please use the #ask-the-instructor Slack channel. Questions specific to a particular lab assignment, technique or analysis should be directed to the appropriate Slack channel.

4.    In the spirit of a learning community, students are encouraged to help each other by responding to questions from other students.

5.    When interacting with your fellow students online, in Bb forums, Slack or email, remember to communicate with the same level of clarity, professionalism and respect that you would practice in face to face communication.

6.    If you are participating in a live video conference, present yourself in a professional manner, with attention to your voice clarity, sound quality, lighting and film environment.

7.    For backup purposes, compose messages and posts in a word processor, then copy and paste the message into the discussion or message.

8.    For private messages to the instructor or another student, only use Winthrop email.

Student Responsibilities in an Online/Hybrid Course

Many students find that responsibilities for online courses differ significantly from traditional courses. The following statements outline some of your basic responsibilities for this course. If you believe you will have difficulty meeting these responsibilities, it is essential that we find a way to maximize your learning experience. Please be in contact with me about any challenges, and pledge the following:

1.    I will ask questions immediately if I don't understand instructions or due dates for assignments.

2.    I will organize my time in order to complete assignments in a thoughtful and on-time manner.

3.    I understand that failure of technology is not an excuse for turning assignments in late.

4.    I will review the technical support information in the Blackboard Tutorials & Campus Resources and Introduction/August 23-24 modules, contacting support services as needed.

5.    I understand that there are other sources of technology for me to use if my primary source fails, such as libraries, campus labs, or friends' computers.

6.    I will participate fully in assignments by following the instructions, responding to my lab partners respectfully and completing my contributions on time.

7.    I will log in to class at least 3 times per week and spend an appropriate amount of time each week completing course materials.

Course Meeting Logistics

Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash


Unless otherwise noted, lab lecture will meet at 2:00 in Sims 305 with experimental work thereafter. Before each lab meeting, you are expected to study the handout and any pertinent online material, and complete the Pre-lab Assignment/Quiz. Allow 1-2 hours for completing pre-lab activities. Anyone missing the respective quiz deadline receives an absence for any experiential portion, or about 1% against total course grade. Please ensure maximized safety with over-the-top clarity about experimental procedures.


This course is defined by experiential learning. In order to receive a passing grade in course, you must not miss more than one experiment. If you miss a lab for any reason, you MUST contact me no later than 24 hours after your session; only under those circumstances may a makeup lab be scheduled.

Safety Rules

Safety goggles are required in the lab at all times, with gloves during lab work. Ensure that gloved hands never touch anything other than lab materials/surfaces, and use only clean gloves (especially after handling chemicals) for computer keyboards or instrument surfaces. Face coverings are recommended inside all campus buildings, and disposable masks for lab will be provided to wear over (or instead of) your mask.

Sims 305: Maintaining Low Entropy

Entrance and Exit Doors

For maximized physical distancing, the entry door is on the north side, with exit door is on the south side remaining locked. As possible for each experiment, a specific traffic direction will be established.

Documenting Waste

In this lab course, students are expected to dispose of waste. Does it belong in aqueous waste or organic waste? If you’re not sure, review general/organic/hygiene chemistry as needed and ASK before you use the wrong waste bottle. Estimate amounts and write down information on the sheets provided.

Maintaining the Lab

Pretend this is a job (actually, it is). Clean up any area you use. If you see anyone act irresponsibly, feel free to let me know confidentially. If I hear you’re a slacker independently from two people, we will be having a conversation.

Washing Glassware

Clean glassware is happy glassware – the people who use it next will also appreciate it. Wash well with hot, soapy water, rinse with distilled water and allow to dry. On the same theme, when you pick up a piece of glassware, don’t assume it’s clean.


The 100‑point lab grade consists of the pieces outlined below, further described in subsequent sections.

  5%     Blackboard and Slack Participation

  5%     F2F attendance, online presence and participation, lab preparation, safety, competence and respect for others

15%     Pre-lab Assignment/Quiz: completed by 2:00 pm on lab day

15 %    Notebook: due by 4:50 on lab day


Minimum letter grades



A, A–


B+, B, B–


C+, C, C–


D+, D, D–, CR




20 %    Post-lab: first draft due 24 hours after lab/computational work is completed; unlimited subsequent drafts until Lab Report due date

30 %    Lab Reports: normally due one week after completing experimental work

10%     Final Exam (December 7-8)

–1 %    Per incident involving lack of safety glasses/mask, dangerous lack of preparation, or any incident judged by the instructor to be unsafe and preventable


Pre-lab Assignment/Quiz - Live (preferred)

Allow 1-2 hours for completing pre-lab activities that include any reading, video and Pre-lab Assignment/Quiz, which ensure you understand the handout well enough to begin lab work. The Pre-lab Assignments are usually pdf files to print, complete by hand and submit. Hand-written submissions by email are accepted prior to 2 pm on your lab day.

Late Policy: Full grading when submitted by beginning of lab lecture (2 pm); anything submitted after 2 to 4:50 will receive an automatic 3 (out of 10) points. Automatic zero thereafter.

Lab Notebook and Notebook Assignment - Email or Live

The bound, non-spiral lab notebook is the only thing used to keep method details and experimental data. Your notebook writing should be clear enough for anyone to repeat your experiment, and by the end of the meeting time, every person should have all original data in their lab notebook. Making thorough notes also facilitates the write-up procedure and helps establish you as a working chemist. The following practices are strongly recommended:

·      Table of Contents and numbered pages

·      Titles/Dates/Activity: one page for each major activity, leaving back of page blank.

·      Observations: all relevant observations should be noted.

·      Inclusion of other course resources: lab writeup, lecture notes, journal article, notes from office hours, conversations with lab partners, Bb forum or Slack channel, etc.

·      When in doubt, leave space.

After each experiment, Notebook is due by 4:50, as a handwritten, legible, photographed notebook page. You can either "check out" with me in lab or send photo by email, graded with three rubrics:

Raw Data (3)                     All collected data required for the full analysis

Writing (3)                         Sentence or bullet form, third person, past tense and passive voice. “This was done.”

Detail (3)                           Materials and methods, instrument names, company and model, perhaps sketches of setup.

Late Policy: Notebooks presented or submitted after 4:50 will receive an automatic zero.

Post-lab Assignment - Blackboard

The first draft is due on Blackboard within 24 hours, with rubrics described below for calculations, propagated error, and accepted value/source. Your Post-lab is graded at least twice: intentions are for you to correct and resubmit as needed. Only the final Post-lab grade is folded into course grade.

Calculations (3):                  Calculations leading to final result, including graphs and worksheets imbedded into text file. One sample calculation for each formula or step. Submission of entire Excel worksheets and excessive typed equations/calculations is discouraged. Instead, include excerpts of Excel worksheets, small image files and handwritten, scanned or photographed calculations.

                                          Q: For each calculation type, is (at least) one sample calculation shown along with complete carry-through of significant figures and units?

Propagation of Error (3):      One sample calculation of propagated error, or assignment-specific percent error.

                                          Q: For each calculation type, is (at least) one sample calculation shown?

Accepted Value/Source (3):  Comparison of calculated value (with propagated error window) to accepted value, or appropriate qualitative comparison. Literature source for comparison is correctly cited and formatted.

                                          Q: Is the comparison between calculated and accepted values addressed? Is there a reputable source named and cited?

Late Policy: There is no penalty for late post-labs, but at the risk of reduced time for feedback and improved performance for the lab report.

Lab Report and Grading Rubric - Blackboard

The Lab Report is uploaded to Blackboard as a single pdf document, normally due one week after lab activity. Submission of multiple files will result in a grade penalty. Please keep your Blackboard confirmation and verify the report was submitted.

Five rubrics for form/writing, abstract, experimental, data presentation and discussion/systematic error are described below. NOTE: Calculations, Propagation of Error, and Literature Comparison sections (9 points) are part of the Post-lab. The Lab Report (15 points) has the elements described below.

Form/Writing (3):                       Organized and written for a peer audience, with no typos and written in the science-standard third person, passive voice, past tense. Attention to detail, such as formatting for chemical substance names and ACS-formatted citations.

                                                  Q: Is the report organized, with no typos, spelling errors or obvious formatting issues? Are chemical substances correctly named? Is the writing in past tense, passive voice, third person, such that ‘‘this was done’‘?


Abstract (3):                               (3-4 sentences) A brief overview of the entire experiment, followed by summary of theory and methods, then the final numerical results (with propagated error) and comparison with any accepted value.


Experimental (3):                        (1-2 paragraphs) A description of experimental methods and procedures, with enough detail to reproduce the experiment. What instruments or supplies were used? Concentrations? Was standardization performed? What data were taken? Include any data not included in Data Presentation. Anything unusual occur?


Data Presentation (3):                 Well-organized raw data, formalized from Notebook, complete enough that I can reproduce your calculations with just the Lab Report. Besides MS-Word tables, you may instead use images of neatly written tables from your notebook, or excepts of Excel worksheets imbedded as images into the report. Presentation of Post-lab calculation highlights, culminating in final calculated values with propagated error. Does one or more of the random values contribute more to error in the final value?


Discussion/Systematic Error (3):   Adapted from Post-lab, statement of calculated value comparison with accepted value, with citation. A synopsis of systematic errors. Within specific systematic errors, does the “direction” of error (low or high side) make sense with respect to calculations? How would any corrections change results?

Late Policy: The penalty for late reports is 1 point (out of 15) per calendar day, after a period of 24 hours past 11:59 pm on the due date.

Cited References

Use citation-sequence system in accordance with the ACS Style Guide. Cite all sources used besides the lab handout, paraphrase appropriately and avoid plagiarism. Do not cite a reference you don’t use and do not use a reference you don’t cite.