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Monday, 2 December 2019 at 9:31am
Monday, 2 December 2019 at 9:31am
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Thread: Chemistry nightmares, and dreaming of chromatography columns

02-Dec-19, 09:48
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posted about 5 months ago
My postgraduate journey has been excting and fascinating, but one of much patience as I needed to make very slow progress during my current year of study as a first-year MSc Winemaking student.

I purify wine tannins using a resin called Sephadex LH-20, which I then pass through more chromatography (HPLC), after which I use this data to get enthalpy (of 'heat' or energy of chemical reaction).
This resin should never run dry, and I would never want to jeopardize my own project; yet it did and my column cracked, which would otherwise ruin my seperation of tannins.

My worst chemistry nightmares have come true, and the fact that these chemicals cost so much money (50 grams of this resin cost over 7K) does not make me feel any better.
Despite that, I am defiant that I'll be able to complete six samples before the end of the year (the acquisition of one sample is about eight hours though).

And I need these purified tannins to get those enthalpy values!

I am just wondering if its normal to make this sort of mistakes in this research environment; I never intended to do so, because in the first place I would never want to waste money in the first place because that will require more waiting - my journey already requires so much waiting!

Is it really okay if things do not go according to plan within this environment, even though it is not your intention to do wrong?

When the resin ran dry, I felt like my world caved in.

I really hope this is the first and last time any of my columns crack, because the emotional burden of having wrecked an expensive instrument, weighs heavily down on me as I seek to cope with the rigours of the postgraduate research environment.
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