Problem 8: Compound Confusion

This resource, from the Royal Society of Chemistry, can be used to develop students’ skills and understanding of spectral analysis, empirical formulae and analytical methods.

The students are contacted by the data collection manager for SpectraSchool and asked to analyse various spectra (infra-red, mass spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance) and use these, together with melting point determination, to identify six samples

There has been a flood in their laboratories which caused the labels to come off a number of bottles and corrupted some of the SpectraSchool data files. The students are informed that the six samples: caffeine, benzoic acid, paracetamol, methyl ethanoate, 2-hydroxybenzoic acid and propanoic acid.

They are provided with two IR spectra, two mass spectra and elemental analysis for two of the compounds and 1H and 13C NMR files which are unlabelled. The students’ need to use this information to identify the samples A - F and match up the 1H and 13C NMR data to each compound. They are expected to provide their results in a suitable format and a full analysis of all spectra.

Curriculum links: analytical methods, empirical formulae

Practical skills: spectral analysis, melting point determination

Show health and safety information

Please be aware that resources have been published on the website in the form that they were originally supplied. This means that procedures reflect general practice and standards applicable at the time resources were produced and cannot be assumed to be acceptable today. Website users are fully responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is in accordance with current regulations related to health and safety and that an appropriate risk assessment has been carried out.

1 File

You might also like


Published by


Share this resource


This resource is part of Royal Society of Chemistry

Lists that tag this content