Chemistry and Biochemistry Equipment

The life blood of any science program is the equipment available for instruction and research. The chemistry/biochemistry program strives to provide our students with modern, up to date instrumentation in order to adequately prepare them for the next phase of their careers.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectophotometers

The NMR is one of the most important tools in chemistry. It is the basis of the MRI that is used by the medical field to image the body. It subjects a sample to a magnetic field and then records the absorption of radio waves by the sample. The information obtained can then be used to deduce the chemical structure of the substance. We are fortunate to have two. The 60 MHz NMR on the right is useful for analyzing protons and is good for quick routine analysis. The 300 MHz NMR on the left is a research grade instrument capable of analyzing several different atom nuclei. It was upgraded in 2012 and is unusual to find at a small school. We are one of only five small schools in Iowa to have one.

Thermal Analysis Instrumentation: Differential Scanning Calorimeter, Thermogravimetric Analyzer and Thermomechanical Analyzer

The DSC measures the amount of energy absorbed or released by a sample as it is heated, cooled or held at a constant temperature. This process allows for the measurement of properties such as crystallization, glass transition and melting temperatures. Other data such as heat capacity, heat of melting, heat of curing, and the purity can be determined.
The TMA is capable of measuring the change in the dimensions, such as expansion and contraction, of a sample as it is heated, cooled or held at a constant temperature. It is also capable of applying a pulling force upon a sample and measuring its extension. Properties that can be measured include thermal expansion, compressive modulus, softening point, penetration, elastic modulus, creep and stress relaxation.
The TGA measures the change in mass of a sample as the sample is heated, cooled or held at a constant temperature. This allows us to conduct polymer decomposition studies, measurement of filler or reinforcing agent content, and thermal stability in a variety of atmospheres.

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometers

FTIR spectroscopy measures the absorption of infrared light as it passes through a sample. Chemical bonds in molecules absorb specific wavelengths of light allowing the identification of those bonds in organic and inorganic molecules. Every organic compound has a unique absorption spectrum, as unique as fingerprints. Thus, the FTIR can be used to identify individual compounds. A large computer library of spectrums of known compounds helps in the identification process. Loras is unique in having five of these instruments, one research grade and four used for routine analysis. They are used in a variety of classes form Global Wrming to Organic Chemistry. Having five allows students plenty of hands on access.

Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrophotometer

The Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrophotometer (GC/MS) is used to measure the size of molecules and is used in conjunction with the FTIR and NMR to determine the structure of molecules. A device similar to this one is used in the drug testing of athletes. The GC portion on the left separates mixtures and feeds them into the MS portion on the right. In the MS, the molecules are smashed into fragments which are analyzed. Our instrument is known as a triple quadrapole, which can smash the fragments again to gather more detailed information about the molecules.

Atomic Absorbance Spectrophotometer

High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph/Gel Permeation Chromatograph


Gas Chromatograph

Others include:
Data Input Stations for
General Chemistry


7 UV/VIS Spectrophotometers


4 PCR thermocyclers


Bomb Calorimeter

Molecular Modeling Workstation


© 2013 LORAS COLLEGE  800.245.6727
Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission