Pre-Camp (25th May 2015)

What sounds interesting about this project?
Caffeine which is a type of alkaloids is a stimulant found naturally in tea, coffee and kola nuts. Coffee and tea are common food that humans intake everyday. It is beneficial to learn more about caffeine and how it affects the human body. While some people say caffeine is harmful to humans, other say the opposite. Since caffeine plays a big role in our lives, the impact of it is not negligible. While some alkaloids are beneficial, other alkaloids such as cocaine (a drug of abuse), strychnine (a poison), morphine (a pain killer), piperine (found in black pepper) and quinine (used to treat malaria and added to tonic) are harmful. So I wanted to find out if caffeine was a harmful of beneficial alkaloid. This is an important reason why I found the topic, 'Extraction of Caffeine from Beverages' interesting and intriguing. Also, in the project I will be encountering techniques such as Buchner Filtration, Solvent Extraction, Distillation using a rotary evaporator, Detection using IR Spectrophotometer. 

What do you think you can learn from this project?
I can learn more about caffeine and its effects in the human body. It can also help me understand why is caffeine known as a drug. This will give me a deeper understanding on the definition of drugs. Also, through this project, I can learn more about the properties of alkaloids and what is the difference between alkaloids and alkalis. I also feel that I might be able to learn more about which alkaloids are harmful and which alkaloids are beneficial to the human body.

Any immediate questions regarding the project?
- Is caffeine a beneficial alkaloid or a harmful alkaloid? Why?
- What is the difference between alkali and alkaloid?
- Why is caffeine known as a drug?
- What are the impacts of caffeine in the human body?


Bucher Filtration

Function: When a solid needs to be isolated from a solution it is normally done at a reduced pressure using a Buchner flask and Buchner funnel.

Solvent Extraction

Function: When an organic compound and an inorganic salt needs to be easily separated using solubility differences.

Distillation using a Rotary Evaporator

Function: This equipment is used to evaporate the solvent that the chemical compound if interest is solubilised in. It is composed of hot water bath and  also a rotating glass tube connected in turn to condenser and vacuum. 

Detection using IR Spectrophotometer

Function: Infrared spectroscopy (IR spectroscopy) is the spectroscopy that deals with the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, that is light with a longer wavelength and lower frequency than visible light.

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