Contact Information

  • Thomas E. Goodwin
  • Professor
  • Chemistry
  • Hendrix College
  • Conway, AR 72032

An Asymptotic Approach to the Development of a Green Organic Chemistry Laboratory

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This article provides a rationale and stepwise process for evaluating and improving the "greenness" of an undergraduate organic chemistry laboratory curriculum. After emphasizing the educational value of sharing this process with students, effective risk assessment is discussed as an important tool for both evaluating and redesigning laboratory exercises. The greening process is illustrated by describing modifications of three undergraduate laboratory exercises (palladium-catalyzed coupling reactions, steroselective reduction reactions and alkene epoxidations) through the use of safer solvents and reagents. By asking each student to describe and evaluate the greenness of a given laboratory exercise and to provide recommendations for how the procedure could be made greener, we are helping our students appreciate the important role of environmentally responsible laboratory practices and thought processes in our society.

Summary prepared May 2005 by Julie A. Haack, Department of Chemistry at the University of Oregon.


Goodwin, T. E. J. Chem. Educ., Print 2004, 81, pp 1187-1190.

J. Chem. Educ. (Abstract only)

Category Descriptors

Chemistry Concepts
  • Aldehydes/Ketones
  • Alkenes
  • Alkynes
  • Catalysis
  • Organometallics
  • Oxidation/Reduction Chemistry
  • Solutions/Solvents
Laboratory Techniques
  • Assembly of Reaction Apparatus
  • Microscale Lab
  • NMR Spectroscopy
  • Optical Activity and Polarity
Green Chemistry Principles
  • Design Less Hazardous Chemical Syntheses
  • Maximize Atom Economy
  • Minimize the Potential for Accidents
  • Prevent Waste
  • Use Catalysts
  • Use Safer Solvents/Reaction Conditions
Chemistry Subdiscipline
  • Organic Chemistry
Target Audience
  • Colleges/Universities
  • Journal Articles