Extended essay intermediate reflection

During the extended essay, I had to choose whether I should continue working with the experiment that just did not work. I have realised that the rate of this reaction I was investigating was so low that there is no possibility to investigate this reaction in a laboratory. At that moment I remembered the book on organic chemistry (V. F. Traven, 2004) where I read about the reaction of racemization of glucose and immediately picked this option.

Another example of a crucial decision making happened to me when I realised that I can add some more data points to those that already exist. So in my investigation, I chose to heat glucose solutions not only for 10 minutes but also 20 minutes which definitely added a lot of certainty to my results.

Exetended Essay Initial Reflection

The topic of my EE is “How does temperature affect the rate of racemization?”. I have chosen this topic because I am interested in processes of changing rate of racemization in optically active substances due to different factors such as temperature and acidity. It was revealed that reaction of racemisation occurs in certain amino acids which are contained in bone structural proteins of vertebrates. As every stereospecific amino acid gets racemised with a certain rate, it allows scientists to identify the age of specimen of teeth or bones found in archaeological excavations or taken from living individuals. This fact pushed me into the research question.

The method I chose for finding the rate of racemization of an optically active compound includes using polarimeter and water bath. One of the most useful sources was Philip Harris technical support notes for use. The adapted method was shown to my EE supervisor and approved by her. This made me confident in starting my work.

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