Few steps to write a perfect organic chemistry lab report

Few steps to write a perfect organic chemistry lab report

Say you are in a chemistry class, and before you leave the classroom, your professor gives you an assignment. The assignment is to perform an experiment and write an organic chemistry lab report based on your observations. How do you write such a paper to earn a good grade? In this article, we will look at the best way to write an organic chemistry lab report.

Writing an organic chemistry lab report

A lab report is a written description and analysis of a laboratory experiment that explores a certain scientific concept. It is a formal report of a conducted experiment. The report expresses what you have done in your experiment in a concise and easy-to-read manner.

A lab report should be written in the past tense in an active voice. You should note all in-lab modifications made to your experiment. A lab report should be written in a way that it can be redone by a competent peer and compare their results with your results.

Put a title on all sections of your lab report. Titling all your sections does away with confusing different parts of the lab report. Also, avoid using quotes in your lab report and instead paraphrase your research findings.

Lab reports enable a student to:

  • Create hypotheses on a particular behavior, event, or stimulus
  • Conduct scientific research
  • Review relevant sources to support your hypothesis
  • Apply statistical operations to test your hypothesis
  • Provide details for someone to allow them to replicate your findings
  • Analyze research methodically and objectively
  • Discover theoretical explanations
  • Communicate clearly and precisely

Relying on a single explanation for your findings is often inconclusive. It is therefore important for you to provide various relevant interpretations to the findings of your experiment.

If your findings are not consistent with your hypothesis, your research is still valuable. This allows you to conclude that your argument was not reliable within the constraints of your research. Hence, you can move on to other areas or methods of research.

Parts of an organic chemistry lab report

How to write an organic chemistry lab report

  1. Title. Your title should be clear and concise. You may get a little bit creative and title the lab report other than the title of the experiment as indicated in the lab manual you are using.
  2. Authors. If you are co-authoring the lab report with an individual or a team, be sure to list everyone’s name down.
  3. Abstract. The abstract summarizes the purpose of your study, the main findings, and the drawn conclusions. An abstract is usually not more than 200 words (2-5 sentences). In some instances, it is published separately from the article to attract an audience. Thus, an abstract should not contain any citations or undefined abbreviations.
  4. Introduction. The introduction says why you are conducting the experiment. Your approach should such that this section is written before the experiment. It should include background information and the objectives of the study. You should state your hypothesis in this section. Additionally, include the experimental strategy you will implement for your experiment.
  5. Findings and discussion. A unique feature of organic chemistry lab reports and journals is that they combine the results and discussion in one section. In this section, you clearly explain the procedure of the experiment, how the experiment worked, your main findings, and what those findings mean.

While explaining the procedure of your experiment, remember to leave out details such as (quantity of reagents used) for the experimental section. Instead, explain each step of the procedure and the significance of input components to the experiment.

Consequently, describe your results and the interpretations you derive from your observations. Allude to whether your hypothesis is being proven or contradicted with the information you are gathering in your experiment.

When conducting an experiment on a product, remember to include information such as percent yield, purity, and product identification. Compare your results to the sources you are using, and be sure to cite those sources. Mention any possible instances of error you may have made in case of inconsistent or inconclusive results.

In your report, include tables, figures, and schemes that may help in easily interpreting your work. Subsequently, record all reagents used in your scheme and a percent yield. Additionally, give a title and number to all your figures, schemes, and tables.

  1. Conclusion. This is a summary of your findings and their importance. You may suggest studies to validate your results. Additionally, you may put up a cause of action to build on your results with access to more resources and time.
  2. Experimental section. This section includes:
  • Observations of the experiment such as solution colors
  • Melting points
  • Yields (percentage yield and grams)
  • Rf values
  • The appearance of formed crystals
  • Spectroscopic data
  1. References. References in an organic chemistry lab report are important in case someone wants to repeat your experiment or confirm your findings. All your references should be cited and styled in American Chemical Society (ACS) format.

Organic chemistry research topics

Coming up with a research topic for a chemistry paper is a daunting task for many students. Remember, research papers should be original, and thus you should not go for easy and popular topics. A chemistry paper topic should be researchable and analytic. Here are a few topic suggestions you might find helpful for your research paper:

  1. Discuss the Electron Dot Models and the Lewis structure
  2. Investigate the use of silicon dioxide in solar cells
  3. What are the similarities and differences between water and monohydric alcohols?
  4. Discuss the different states of matter
  5. Explain the effect of sulfuric acid on organic materials
  6. Explain the significance of organic chemistry
  7. Differentiate organic compounds to inorganic compounds
  8. What does the Multiple Proportions Law state
  9. Explain how sapphires form
  10. Outline the chemical process of gasoline production
  11. Discuss Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressures
  12. Explain the crystallization process of NaCl
  13. Discuss the stability of nucleic acids (RNA and DNA)
  14. Explain the concept of barium toxicity
  15. Make comparative research of the difference between ketones and aldehydes
  16. Comparative analysis of coconut and coal activated carbon
  17. Describe the chemical and physical similarities and differences of polyhydric alcohols
  18. Describe the process of kerosene desulfurization
  19. Define an organosilicon compound and discuss its properties
  20. Conduct a kinetic study on the hydrolysis of cellulose (cotton)
  21. A research project on quantum chemical calculations of organic crystal formation

Extraction lab report organic chemistry

Liquid-liquid extraction is a common technique used in separating combined organic compounds. Some compounds can be converted from their neutral form to ionic form (and vice versa) through acid-base reactions.  An acid-base reaction lab report in organic chemistry is therefore essential to chemically discuss this procedure.

This experiment will discuss extraction techniques to separate an acid, a base, and a neutral compound from an organic mixture. Acids, bases, and neutral compounds can be separated using aqueous solutions of different PH values.

Insolubility or low solubility in water is a significant chemical feature of organic carboxylic acids. These compounds are, however, very soluble in dilute sodium hydroxide. This is because the acid is dehydronated by the base, producing sodium carboxylate.

Dissolving the mixture obtained in an immiscible organic solvent and extraction with sodium hydroxide causes the carboxylic acid to be selectively isolated. The carboxylate salt solution is acidified, causing carboxylic acid to form from the sodium carboxylate salt; the acid is not soluble in water. The acid forms a precipitate, as shown in the chemical equation below:

Hydrochloric acid can be used in the extraction of water-insoluble organic bases. If you add HCl to say amine (an organic base), its respective ammonium salt is produced. The ammonium salt is insoluble in organic solvents but soluble in water.

The ammonium salt can be converted back to an amine by treatment with a base. The amine will form a precipitate as it is not soluble in water.

Using the above properties as the foundation of your knowledge, acid-base extractions can be used to separate a neutral compound, amine, or carboxylic acid from a mixture. The precipitate collected should be characterized via melting temperature analysis.

Organic chemistry crystallization lab report

Solid compounds are purified through the crystallization technique. Therefore, every chemist must understand the crystallization procedure to become proficient in the laboratory. The basis of crystallization is solubility: in general, compounds (solutes) are more soluble in hot liquids than in cold liquids.

Crystals of a pure compound form when a hot solution is allowed to cool, making the solute insoluble in the solvent (hot liquid). Dissolved impurities are separated from the growing crystals through filtration.


Prepare a solution containing 25mL methanol and 2.0g of impure naphthalene in a 50mL Erlenmeyer flask. Heat the mixture to a boil and filter it through a fluted filter paper into a 50mL Erlenmeyer flask. Use 3mL of methanol to wash the filter paper and the initial Erlenmeyer flask.

Heat the solution to a boil and allow it to evaporate until flask readings come down to 15mL. Turn the heat off and add distilled water in drops into the solution using a pipette. The solution should turn cloudy with the addition of water. Swerve the solution to re-dissolve precipitated naphthalene.

After about 3.5mL of water, let the solution cool to room temperature. Then, collect the formed crystal using a Buchner funnel and suction. Let the crystals dry and weigh them.

Repeat the above experiment with 2.0g of an unknown substance other than impure naphthalene. To discover which substance it is, we will use its melting point range.

Observation and results

Crystallization of naphthalene from methanol

Mass of impure naphthalene =2.0g

Mass of pure naphthalene obtained =0.62g

Percent Yield = (actual yield/theoretical yield) × 100 = (0.62÷2.0) × 100 = 31%

Melting point range of pure naphthalene =80°C – 81°C

Crystallization of unknown substance from Acetone

Mass of unknown substance =2.0g

Mass of pure unknown obtained =0.125g

Percent yield = (0.125÷2.0) × 100 = 6.25%

Melting point range of pure unknown =125°C – 130°C

Observations and Discussion

A white substance of mass 0.62g was collected after performing this experiment. The white substance is pure naphthalene. The yield obtained was 31%, showing how far from the theoretical yield we are. This is because most of the product evaporated during boiling.

Pure crystals were also obtained for the unknown substance. The crystal’s melting point range was tested, and the unknown was identified as Urea.  

The process used to identify the unknown substance is recrystallization. A recrystallization lab report for organic chemistry would be most suitable to record the findings above. Acetone is the most ideal solvent for the unknown since it does not dissolve Urea at room temperature.

The melting of the unknown is observed to be 125°C – 130°C. It is, however, known that the melting point of Urea and Cinnamic acid lies in the range of 132.5°C – 133°C. Using different Urea to Cinnamic acid ratios, we obtain different melting point ranges.

It is to be noted that more impurities in a substance cause it to have a wider melting point range. Additionally, an impure substance has a lower melting point compared to a pure substance. Your organic chemistry melting point lab report should have your observations as below:

Ratio (Urea : Cinnemic acid) Temperature range
4:1 98°C – 115°C
1:4 100°C – 125°C
1:1 100°C – 115°C


An appropriate solvent needs to be chosen to use the crystallization method to obtain a purified substance. The solvent needs to dissolve the substance and leave the impurities within as solid. The solvent is then separated and re-crystallized. To obtain the highest percent yield of the final product, choose an ideal solvent.

The organic chemistry lab report example above takes into account the whole crystallization and recrystallization procedure. Observations and conclusions are then drawn from the experiment to finalize your findings from the experiment.

Distillation in organic chemistry

Distillation is converting liquid to vapor form through boiling and condensing the vapor back to liquid form. In chemistry, distillation is used in the purification and identification of liquids.

Distillation is used for purification since liquids have different boiling points. Therefore, different components in a compound mixture separate individually when the mixture is distilled.

You may identify an organic compound through distillation. This is because the boiling point of a substance is one of its physical properties. Your distillation organic chemistry lab report should contain a clearly outlined procedure, observations, and conclusions if you perform a distillation experiment.

Determining the melting point of a substance

What process would you follow if asked to write an organic chemistry melting point lab report? Establishing the melting point of a substance is a standard and straightforward procedure in the laboratory.

The procedure may be used to establish the purity of a substance, identify a substance, or establish thermal stability. In most cases, the recording of a melting point will be over a range of temperatures rather than an exact melting point.

There are various methods to determine the melting point of a substance. The capillary method is the most basic and common.

Before the experiment, ensure your sample is dry and in powder form. Measure 2-3 mm of your sample and ensure it goes all the way down in your capillary tube. You may either use a melting point apparatus or a heating bath to experiment.

While using a heating bath, you will have to attach a thermometer to your capillary tube. It is important that you slowly heat your sample to establish heat equilibrium.

The melting point apparatus is quite easy to use. All you need to do is set a target temperature and view the melting through the device eyepiece. In addition, the melting point apparatus digitally displays the melting temperature, thus recording the data becomes easy.

Always ensure you use a fresh sample and a new capillary tube for each experiment. Ensure the tube is clean before the experiment. A contaminated capillary tube could result in a wide range of temperatures. Avoid heating your sample too fast and adjust your heat to 1°C – 2°C per minute.

In summary

An organic chemistry lab report is a written description and evaluation of a laboratory experiment. It has various sections containing different types of information and data to make a complete lab report. You may be given a chemistry assignment and can’t seem to come up with a suitable topic. Use the internet to search for chemistry research paper topics.

You may have to write various organic chemistry lab reports throughout your study. Such include an extraction lab report, a crystallization lab report, a distillation lab report, and a melting point lab report. If you need to write an organic chemistry lab report and have no idea where to start, seek help from chemistry assignment writers.


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