3D printed “smart” rection vessels

Leroy Cronin and his team out of the University of Glasgow have used a 3D printer they modified to use bathroom sealant to develop a wide variety of custom reaction vessels. The video above shows the printing of such a vessel and how it allows for much more detailed reaction monitoring.

 One vessel was printed with catalyst-laced ‘ink’, enabling the container walls to drive chemical reactions. Another container included built-in electrodes, made from skinny strips of polymer printed with a conductive carbon-based additive. The strips carried currents that stimulated an electrochemical reaction within the vessel.

Using these new vessels they were able to synthesize three new compounds. But even more exciting than the prospect of new compounds is the possibility that using a smart vessel one could find alternative and possibly cheaper routes to the synthesis of known compounds, especially drugs targeting rare diseases where small market keeps the prices abnormally hire.

via Cronin Group

How to make silica aerogel at home

If you havent heard of Aerogel, it really is quite an amazing substance. Its a gel thats had its liquid component replaced by gas. This results in a cool material that is both low in density and thermal conductivity.  

Cheapass science – 10 lab tips for the Amateur Chemist

Make magazine has an article up with 10 useful tips for the lab.  The tips cover things like sand baths, easy desiccation, and uses for plasti-dip. One such tip (quoted below) suggests Holding Stir bars with a magnet while pouring. Continue reading

How to make quantum dots

Charlie Dvorchak(apologies if misspelt name) of John Hopkins University walks us through how to make Cadmium Selenide semiconductor nanocrystals, also known as a type of Quantum Dot.

Caution: Cadmium Selenide is dangerous to human health, so be sure to take proper precautions if you choose to work with it.

P.s. Just one cool possible use of quantum dots is a BioLaser.