Chemistry students’ analytical skills put to the test in national competition

CHEMISTRY students at Richard Taunton Sixth Form College in Southampton showed off the analytical skills they have honed over the last year when they took part in a national contest.

Six teams of first year A level chemistry students from the college in Hill Lane were involved in the Schools Analyst Competition, organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The challenges within the competition offer students all over the country the chance to apply their chemistry knowledge in a fun and rewarding way.

As part of the competition the Richard Taunton students undertook three sets of experiments as part of a mock trading standards investigation into products on sale at a candy store that were suspected of containing ingredients that were either restricted or used in incorrect amounts.

The tests included carrying out a titration to work out how much active ingredient was present in vitamin C tablets, using thin layer chromatography to determine the dye colours used in coloured sweets and a volumetric analysis to work out whether there was enough baking soda in batches of ready-to-bake cake mixes.

Science teacher Rachel Powell said: “The students really enjoyed this opportunity to develop their practical skills and got very competitive about it. Some groups invested time researching the techniques in advance to give them an edge over their competitors. It was a real delight to see them all so engaged.”

A team comprising of students Daniela Hasanaj, Asma Fadayee and Aisha Hagle came out on top in the Richard Taunton heat. Rachel said: “The competition was a great way to gain confidence with practical techniques while having fun.”

Pictured above: Navjeet Singh, left, Mary Nduka-Okonji and Valerie Kalate