First Day (26th May 2015)

What did you do today?
Today we extracted caffeine from beverage (green tea/black tea). Me and my partner extracted caffeine from green tea. We were supposed to go though certain procedures to remove the caffeine from the green tea. 
1) Packing 8 tea bags (2g each)
2) Buchner Filtration
3) Rotary Evaporation
4) IR Spectroscopy

We found out how each apparatus worked and why was it better than all the other equipments for the particular function. We had some problems extracting the liquid form of the caffeine as the solution was cloudy instead of clear. We later found out that this was because that our filter paper was not placed properly and the solution could seep through the sides, making the filtration process not effective. 

What did you learn today?
The experiment we did today was very educational as I got to learn more about caffeine. I learnt more on the effects of caffeine on the human body. For example, if consumed too much, caffeine may cause an increase in the heartbeat rate and also fatigue. Sometimes, the effect may also be death. I also understood like how minor things such as not placing the filter paper properly can cause a huge difference in the end result of the experiment and also some difficulties during the experiment itself. I learnt more about how different apparatus is suitable and more efficient for certain functions. For example, a Buchner filter is the most suitable for filtration as it vacuum. Also, I found it quite difficult to adapt to the hood as I have never used it before and it was inconvenient at the start. But later, I realised to was for the safety of the people at the lab.

How do you feel about today’s activities?
Today's activity was a very fun and worth-while experience. Learning about caffeine helped me get a better understanding of alkaloids and compounds. I had fun working together with my groups and learning about apparatus I have never used before. Though I faced some challenges along the way, it was solved with the help of my group and the TAs.

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