BOP students make their mark at Waikato chemistry challenge

20 June 2017

Tauranga Boys' College
Prize winners: Tauranga Boys’ College first place winners at the 2017 NZIC Analytical Chemistry Competition (with judge, Associate Professor Michèle Prinsep) (From left: Associate Professor Michèle Prinsep, Jack Wade, Anthony Fraser, Josh Bell, Daniel Bartley)

The University of Waikato's annual New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (NZIC) Analytical Chemistry Competition saw Tauranga Boys’ College team awarded first place.

The event, held on Wednesday 14 June, challenged 92 enthusiastic Year 13 students to spend a day in the University’s chemistry laboratories, where they worked on an experiment. Schools from the Bay of Plenty region produced excellent results on the day, with Aquinas College in second place and Tauranga Girls’ College in third place.

This year's competition challenged students to analyse the individual levels of zinc and sulphate ions in a sample of zinc sulphate and to use these values to determine how many water molecules were associated with each zinc sulphate molecule. One pair from each group of four used a gravimetric procedure to find the sulphate ion content, while the other half of the team used a volumetric method to find the zinc ion level.

“This proved to be a challenging task in the time available but Tauranga Boys’ College's winning team, consisting of Daniel Bartley, Josh Bell, Anthony Fraser and Jack Wade, produced a near perfect result,” says competition judge and key organiser, Associate Professor Michèle Prinsep.

Twenty-three teams of four students from 22 schools across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty entered this year’s competition.

Rivalry was fierce but the main emphasis was enjoying the experience and meeting students from other schools. The competition was sponsored by New Zealand Institute of Chemistry's Waikato branch and Hill Laboratories. The winning team received $240 and a trophy, with prize money also awarded to all other place-getters thanks to the events sponsors.

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