Synthesis and Analysis of a family of Cobalt Complexes for AP

After submitting the paper, I began working on novel cobalt-based catalysts for proton reduction.  These catalysts are valuable due to their cost-effective reagents.  So far, we have synthesized two of the three cobalt complexes.  Structurally, the complexes look very similar to each other, with the exception of electron withdrawing/electron donating groups that will affect activity and efficiency.  The electron withdrawing groups pull electron density away from the metal center, which, in theory, will facilitate the reduction of the complex due to the more positive character of the center.  The electron donating groups may worsen efficiency, but also have the potential to increase activity.  I have been synthesizing these complexes and running electrochemical experiments on them in order to measure their catalytic activity.  The synthesis itself is very straightforward, since it is a one pot synthesis, in air, that refluxes for only two hours.  Then, the solution is filtered, and the concentrate can be used to crystallize out the complex with a slow diffusion crystallization technique.

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Humic Acid Studies & Lake Water Studies – Varying Conditions

Humic acid is a cost-effective and green substance made of organic waste.  It does not have much use as is, but green chemistry research has gone into harnessing humic acid, since it is in such high abundance.  Humic acid has the potential to be used as a sacrificial electron donor instead of triethylamine (TEA) in our photocatalytic system.  So, I have been conducting experiments to utilize triethylamine in our test tubes.  I also performed experiments to measure the quenching of our catalyst with humic acid.  Unfortunately, no hydrogen was produced in our photocatalytic system when humic acid was incorporated instead of TEA.  I varied concentration of the humic acid in the test tube to no avail.  So, I took a trip to our dear Lake Matoaka to see if I could find lake water with a very small amount of humic acid that would hopefully act as a natural electron donor.  The rationale behind using lake water is accented by the fact that we have had success using lake water and TEA in our photocatalytic systems.  Unfortunately, the humic acid in the water was not effective.  The humic acid idea is tabled for now, but it is possible in the future that it will be incorporated into photocatalytic systems under different conditions in the future.

Update #3: Development of a Novel Grignard Lab

Hi all,

We’re nearing the end of my time in the lab this summer and things are going pretty well. My professor is excited about the work that I’ve done and believes we’re right on the cusp of being finished with this. Right now, I have a total of 10 working reactions
(which was the goal). 2 of these reactions are slower so I would like to replace them, if we can. For the next 2 weeks, I’ll be finishing the lab by testing a few more unknowns then beginning to write a procedure for the students.

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