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Need suggestions for getting a pure product in an experiment.


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So this is my first semester doing undergraduate research, and I'm very exited about it. We have been doing a certain experiment for a couple months now and the first big hurdle we are facing is getting a pure product.


Basically, we are trying to make a substance and then analyze it by XRD. The problem is that we are getting a lot of impurities in the final product. I don't want to go into too much detail, but basically there are two steps: adding NaOH to a substance, and then oxidizing it.


So far we have tried doing the reaction under nitrogen, and instead of adding the oxidizing agent as a powder we dissolved it and added it at a constant rate. Still there are impurities.


I know I'm being very vague, but I was just wondering if anyone had any general suggestions for getting pure products. I'm just working under a grad student, but I know it would impress them if I could come up with a suggestion to improve the experiment. So far the only thing I can think of is using a different oxidizing agent, but I'm guessing this wouldn't work for some reason that I wouldn't understand. Most of the chemistry involved is way over my head at this point in my education.

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Some reactions naturally yield two products, and if you only wanted one the other is an impurity. You can, of course, purify your product, so long as there is some sort of difference you can exploit. Without knowing what your reaction is I can't really help. It's probably a base catalyzed reaction though.

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