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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 15 (2010) pp 28-31

An Undergraduate Research Based Independent Project: The Optimization of the Classic Diels-Alder Microwave Reaction

Angela J. Winstead

Department of Chemistry, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD 21251,
Received July 18, 2008. Accepted September 27, 2009.

Published: 16 January 2010

Abstract. This article describes the application of microwave assisted organic synthesis in the advanced organic chemistry laboratory. This application provides an instructional environment that mimics a research experience. Students explore the Diels-Alder reaction of maleic anhydride and E, E-1,4-diphenyl-1,3-butadiene using a multi-mode microwave oven and a single-mode microwave oven as heat sources. The substitution of conventional heating methods with microwave heating allows students the opportunity to investigate the process of experimental design. They optimize the reaction conditions, and compare their yields with those obtained when multi-mode heating is used. A simulated research environment within the confines of the classroom has been established.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; organic chemistry

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