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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 22 (2017) pp 116-118

Detection of Phenol With a Conductive Polymer P3HT Utilizing Electrochemistry: Optimization and Unique Findings

Stamatina Tolias, Robyn Zelinksi, and Suzanne K. Lunsford*,†

Department of Chemistry, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, 45435,; Alter High School, Dayton, Ohio
Received March 14, 2017. Accepted June 7, 2017.

Published: 28 June 2017

Abstract. Controlled Potential Electrolysis (CPE) was used in this lab experiment to modify the carbon electrode surface with various conductive polymers and detect phenol by cyclic voltammetry in basic conditions. The design of the project was created for students to determine the electrode type that would provide an optimized response for phenol detection. The results of the bare electrode were then built upon through the analysis of the phenol detection performance of various conductive polymer modifications. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) was utilized to confirm the growth of the optimized conductive polymer poly-3-hexythiophene to detect phenol onto the carbon electrode. This experiment has built upon novel findings from a previous publication on phenol detection with polymer polyeugenol. The unique thiophene ring-based conductive polymers were studied in this experiment for the detection of phenol. Overall, experiment has been successful in educating students on electrochemical techniques such as CPE and cyclic voltammetry and their application in the detection of organic chemicals like phenol by utilizing conductive polymers on the working electrode. Students found this experience with electrochemistry and the detection of organic chemicals such as phenol with conductive thiophene polymers [poly-3-hexylthiophene=P3HT] grown by Controlled Potential Electrolysis to be a content builder in analytical chemistry concepts.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; analytical chemistry

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