* Bristol ChemLabS Schools' Laboratory Programme

Anaesthetic Synthesis Workshop Day for Post 16 Students


Bristol ChemLabS is making available its recently refurbished undergraduate teaching laboratories to groups of school students to support regional Chemistry teachers. The laboratories are the best of their type in the UK and amongst the very best teaching laboratories in the world.

This means opportunities for your students to study at a world-class university with world class facilities outside of undergraduate term time as well as on Wednesdays throughout the year.

The ‘Anaesthetic Synthesis Workshop’ is one of several workshop days involving practical work designed by the Bristol ChemLabS School Teacher Fellow with practical scripts written in appropriate language.

Target Students

A maximum of 70 Post 16 students who are typically capable of going on to study A-level chemistry.


The number of teaching staff accompanying the student groups from each school should be what is considered appropriate by the local school rules, but there should be at least one teacher per group of up to 15 students.

Expected Timings


9:30 –9:45

Welcome, Safety talk and fitting out with safety glasses and lab coats.

9:45 – 10.00

Safety talk and fitting out with safety glasses and laboratory coats for those students who do not have appropriate ones of their own.

10:00 –13-00

Practical Session in Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories. There will be a break for drinks and biscuits mid morning.

13:00 –13:45

Lunch (students to provide their own lunch)

13:45 –14:15

Talk on what it is like to be a ‘generic’ university student at Bristol given by the Widening Participation Office

14:15 –14:45

Talk by one of the Postgraduate Chemists on an appropriate topic

14:45 –15:45 A Pollutant’s Tale’ lecture demonstration on Atmospheric Chemistry (lots of experiments including minor explosions, liquid nitrogen and dry ice) or alternative ‘A Chemical Delight’ linked with kinetics
15:45 - 16:00 Plenary and Departure

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Health and Safety

Extremely Important! Students and accompanying staff will be expected to follow the School of Chemistry's rules for visiting school scientists on health and safety in the laboratories as well as the specific health and safety requirements of the experiments.

This information MUST be made available to all pupils and accompanying adults.

This information MUST be made available to all pupils and accompanying adults.
Failure to observe these rules will result in no admittance to the laboratories for students or accompanying staff.

Click for full Bristol ChemLabS Health and Safety Rules

safety sign - no ballet shoes!

photo by riot_jane

The general rules include

Failure to observe safety rules including inappropriate clothing will result in no admission to the laboratories either for students or accompanying teachers.

Bristol ChemLabS has a more than sufficient supply of lab coats and safety glasses available for students and accompanying staff.  However, if students or staff wish to bring their own that is fine. Lab coats and safety glasses must be worn at all times in the laboratory. Failure to do so will result in no admittance to the laboratory or removal from it.

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Outline of Visit


Groups of 12 to 15 students will each have a postgraduate chemist as a demonstrator. All postgraduates (and technicians) are CRB/DBS checked through the Science and Engineering Ambassadors (SEAs) or STEM Ambassadors Programme. It is not often that school students will have the opportunity to work with young professional scientists at such close quarters.

The students will be presented with the task to make the anaesthetic benzocaine. The synthesis involves heating using heating mantles, reflux, Buchner filtration, solvent extraction, rotary evaporation. Other related analytical tasks to be undertaken when the reflux is running includes thin layer chromatography (tlc) and test tube analysis of functional groups. Analysis of the purified product will be via infra red spectroscopy

.If there are teaching staff who wish to join in the practical work that is fine as long as we are notified in advance.

Tour of the School of Chemistry

This is not available on this occasion but the students will see the laboratory and a lecture theatre during the visit.


Drinks and biscuits will be provided.
Students must provide their own lunch (to avoid complications due to dietary requirements).

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Please contact the Outreach Administrator via chem-net@bristol for details.

Careers Advice

Students with Special Needs

The teacher in charge of the visit is expected to notify the School of Chemistry in sufficient time if there are students with special needs so that appropriate risk assessments can be carried out.


Photography of the day's activities is welcomed. Teaching staff have found that images taken in the laboratory make good copy for school websites and newsletters. Images may be taken by School of Chemistry staff for our own websites, articles and other publications. Each school is requested to complete the consent form found at: http://www.chemlabs.bris.ac.uk/Documents/PhotoConsentForm.pdf and return it to Steve Croker by post or fax.

Arriving by Coach or Minibus.

There is no coach parking and very limited minibus parking (by prior booking chem_net@bristol.ac.uk). Coaches can drop off and collect students at a safe point opposite the entrance to Cantock's Close on Woodland Road.

A Map for the School of Chemistry, BS81TS. can be found by clicking here


Please contact The School Teacher Fellow for any queries at t.g.harrison@bristol.ac.uk


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