Laboratory work, both research and teaching, is supported by a range of scientific instruments including a continuous wave proton nuclear magnetic resonance (nmr) spectrometer and a modern ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer. Recent acquisitions include a state-of-the-art infrared spectrophotometer and a gas chromatograph with integrator and thermal conductivity detector. For analytical chemistry, instrumentation includes: a gas-chromatograph/mass-spectrometer (gc-ms), a high-pressure liquid chromatograph (hplc); a rapid-scan diode array ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer (uv-vis); and an atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AA). These instruments are computerized and the computers slaved to the equipment are also available for use in data manipulation, such as graphing, statistical analysis, and linear regression. The equipment is used for the chemistry and environmental science (chemistry) courses, for honours projects, and for faculty research.
Organic Chemistry (Chem 2400/2401 & Chem 2440)
The courses in organic chemistry utilize the usual range of organic equipment such as electrical melting point apparatuses. Of particular note, the laboratory program is completely flameless and most of the experimentation is performed on the semi-micro scale -- techniques that have been pioneered at this College, see: S.B. Abhyankar and N.J. Reed, "Undergraduate semi-micro organic labs: taking the middle path" Canadian Chemical News, 39(8), 19-20 (1987).
Physical Chemistry (Chem 2300)
Almost all the experimentation in this course is now computer interfaced. This enables students to watch the graphs plot while they are recording the data. Errors can be spotted before the experiment is concluded. Also, sophisticated data manipulation and analysis can be performed on the results. See: G. Rayner-Canham, W. Ellsworth, D. Strickland, and D. Wheeler, “A Computer-Interfaced Physical Chemistry Laboratory: Some Personal Experiences,” Canadian Chemical News, 52(3), 16-17 (2000).
Inorganic Chemistry (Chem 2210)
A complete revision of the inorganic chemistry laboratory component has been completed. Instead of solely technique-based experiments, the new laboratory program will focus on reactions relating to theoretical and conceptual material, interspersed by some traditional synthetic techniques.
General Chemistry (Chem 1200/1001)
The laboratory work that accompanies the standard first-year course sequence is also innovative. The innovation lies in the use of microscale techniques that have been pioneered at SWGC. The employment of plastic microscale equipment has made it possible to conduct laboratory work more quickly and efficiently, with a significant increase in safety and decrease in cost. Digital balances and digital pH meters are used in this course, see: G.W. Rayner-Canham, "Microscale Methods in General Chemistry," Education in Chemistry, 31, 68-70 (1994).
Introductory Chemistry (Chem 1810)
Rather than employ a set of three-hour long experiments, for this course it was decided that a larger number of shorter experiments would be beneficial. This innovative approach, unique to SWGC, has been described in: M.J. Webb, G.W. Rayner-Canham and A.M. Last, "The Minilab: A Novel Approach to Freshman Chemistry Experiments" Journal of College Science Teaching, 15(5), 448-453 (1986).