The Inorganic chemistry laboratory 1 provides basic preparative and analytical equipment with a focus on inorganic synthesis. In addition to the usual laboratory equipment such as Bunsen burners, drying cabinets, magnetic stirrers, vacuum pumps, or rotary evaporators, the following equipment is also available in the laboratory:

Laboratory pressure reactor

for reactions at elevated pressures and temperatures
(e.g. for hydrothermal syntheses)

The boiling point of liquids, usually water, limits the maximum temperature of reactions. An increase of the reaction temperature by 10 °C often results in a doubling of the reaction speed. Due to the pressure in the pressure reactor (autoclave), liquids can be heated up to higher temperatures, which enables reactions to occur that do not take place at all, or only take place very slowly, at normal pressures. The laboratory autoclave shown here is used for hydrothermal syntheses of silicates (reactions in an aqueous medium at elevated pressure and temperatures above 100 °C).

Muffle furnace

for high temperature reactions, solid state production and drying up to a temperature of 1200 °C

Reactions between solids proceed very slowly, in contrast to those between dissolved or gaseous substances.  Only at high temperatures do these reactions take place at sufficient speed. In cement production, for example, which involves a reaction between solid oxides of calcium, silicon, and aluminium, a temperature of approx. 1450 °C is required. The muffle furnace shown is used for drying solids, for reactions of oxides and carbonates and for the production of solids such as spinels.

Reflected light microscope

for the characterization of small crystalline powders

The reflected light microscope is used to characterize small crystalline samples. Crystalline specimens are recorded using the software connected to it and are examined for their purity and homogeneity.

UV-VIS spectrometer

for the qualitative characterization of compounds and for determining the content of substances

With ultraviolet (UV) and visible light (VIS, for visible) electrons can be excited, which means that electron transitions within molecules can be visualized. The extinction over the entire wave range can be displayed; this gives the UV-VIS spectrum of a compound, which can be used to characterize and identify that compound. To determine the content of a substance, the absorbance at a certain wavelength can also be measured. A calibration curve is used to determine the concentration of this compound. The progression of reactions over time can also be observed by measuring the absorbance at a certain characteristic wavelength and observing its increase or decrease.

Microwave synthesis device

for preparative inorganic and organic chemistry

Microwave heaters have become an integral and indispensable part of modern kitchens. Preparative and synthetic chemistry has also discovered these devices for itself. Special microwave laboratory equipment is now used for the following applications:

  • Microwave digestion of poorly-soluble substances for analysis
  • Moisture and fat determination of substances
  • Drying of substances
  • Syntheses in organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry (peptide synthesis and proteomics)

The instrument shown here is mainly used in preparative chemistry.

(Folding) tube furnace

for high temperature reactions with reactive or inert gases up to 1200 °C

Reactions between different solids or a solid with a gas are very slow, in contrast to those between dissolved or gaseous substances. Only at high temperatures do these reactions take place at sufficient speed. Such reactions require a controlled gas flow over a solid body at high temperatures. What is more, many high-temperature reactions must be carried out under exclusion of oxygen or (air) humidity, since these components can react with the reactants or reaction products. In a quartz glass tube, the tube furnace shown enables a solid to react with a reactive gas (e.g. reaction of a metal with a halogen or hydrogen halide) or the high-temperature treatment of solids under exclusion of air and moisture (e.g. controlled conversion of organic materials into inorganic carbon).

The Schlenk technique

for preparative work under exclusion of atmospheric oxygen and humidity

Inorganic and organometallic synthesis chemistry require substances to be handled that are frequently highly reactive and are very sensitive to contact with atmospheric oxygen and/or moisture. Such highly reactive compounds are extremely valuable reagents, as they can be used to realize a variety of syntheses that are not possible by other means. Using the working method named after Wilhelm Schlenk, these chemical compounds can be safely and stably used or synthesized in the laboratory. Using special glass vessels, the air can be removed from laboratory apparatus by means of vacuum and replaced by non-reactive inert gases (e.g. nitrogen or argon). The so-called Schlenk line allows convenient switching between vacuum and inert gas, thereby not only enabling air and moisture-sensitive substances to be handled simply and safely, but also special working techniques such as vacuum distillation or filtration under inert gas. This sophisticated but versatile protective gas technology is now standard in modern synthesis laboratories.

The laboratory also has 2 titrators that allow different titrations to be performed. Further preparative and analytical equipment and methods can be accessed within the Faculty if needed.