Mystery Vial!

I just did a reaction in lab with a pretty striking color change. So in keeping with this blog's tradition of (read: Ms. Complex Conjugate's obsession with) pretty colors, let's do another Mystery Flask! Well, except I do reactions on smaller scales, so it's more like a Mystery Vial.

Anyway, here's the starting material (in solution):

...and here's the product (in solution):

Some hints: The reactant and products are organic (no metals here!), and you can actually monitor the reaction by the color change. This reaction's among my favorite class of reactions. I'll probably post the answer later tonight or tomorrow.


Ψ*Ψ said...

I know what it is :)
Also, I'll trade you spatulas! Mine is in horrible condition after years of abuse. While I'm at it, want to switch vacuum pumps? That doesn't work so well, either. I blame someone you've met and I haven't, since her name is on the thing.

Mitch said...

A vacuum pump is a sexy piece of equipment. It needs to have its oil changed often and has to stay well lubed. Leaks need to be found and repaired. Sometimes a pump just likes to pump on regular air, so it can rid itself of some nasty organics that ended up in its oil because of your carelessness. Pumps should be calibrated with a long mercury bubbler and checked against that calibration point often.


Excimer said...


um. buy a new one? they're cheap.


needs to marry a pump, apparently.

Matt Jenks said...

There is nothing sexy about the smell that a vacuum pump puts out when purging itself of said organics. Leave the pump running at all times, and it won't break down as much. In my experience, the pumps only break when being switched on and off. You should only turn them off when changing the oil. And keep a good cold trap to avoid the sucking in and collection of organics inside the motor housing.

I was going to guess that you had yourself a nice Grubbs cross metathesis going based off the first color, but the "no metals" part and the yellow product has me stumped. Usually, the stuff I work on, the colors go in the opposite directions, and that's how I know it's done.

Chemgeek said...

I think I would know what it was if the product was the reactant and vice versa. A little pyrrole, aldehyde and BF3 = purple [Or as my un-tenured (at the time) adviser in grad school called it "tenure purple"]a.k.a. a porphryin.

I'm going to guess you are destroying conjugation with some sort of reduction. Just a guess...

and psi star psi... spatulas really are cheap. I regularly stock pile 50 spatulas (seriously) so I always have one ready.

And Mitch... A vacuum pump is pretty good, but give me a Schlenk line. That is sexy.

Ψ*Ψ said...

See, I'm nice to vacuum pumps, but these were here when I arrived. I've had to fix two already. And spatulas are cheap, but one of the stockroom guys is REALLY CREEPY, so I try to avoid going there as much as possible. (That, and I was attracted to the shinyness.)

By the way, "no metals" is kind of a big hint, you all. Maybe this is because I already know what's in the vial :)

Chemgeek said...

Stock room guys are almost by definition "creepy." at least, that's been my experience.