# How do you write a chemical abstract?

Sep 29, 2016

In general, an abstract is like a summary of the important discoveries of an experiment. It tends to include, in this order:

• The hypothesis or main goal that was to be accomplished.
• A brief overview of the significant methods used, including the name of any instruments used, such as spectrophotometers, NMR spectrometers, etc (a few sentences).
• Your quantitative results, if any.
• A brief conclusion (1-2 sentences), if applicable.

Here's an example of an experiment where I used an FTIR to evaluate the infrared behavior of methane, and used an acoustic sound cavity to determine the root-mean-square speed of sound in methane:

In this experiment, the infrared (IR) behavior of methane and the speed of sound through it were investigated. The IR spectrum of methane was acquired using a Perkin Elmer FTIR Spectrum 2000 at a ${\text{0.05 cm}}^{- 1}$ resolution, showing that of methane’s four unique vibrational modes (${A}_{1} , E , 2 {T}_{2}$), only the two triply degenerate ${T}_{2}$ modes are IR-active by themselves, at 3018.90 (± 0.05) "cm"^(-1) and 1306.50 (± 0.05) "cm"^(-1), respectively, where the former is the stretching mode and the latter is the bending mode. Combination bands can be seen at 4220.30 (± 0.05) "cm"^(-1) (${A}_{1}$ stretch $+ {T}_{2}$ bend), 4317.80 (± 0.05) "cm"^(-1) (${T}_{2}$ stretch $+ {T}_{2}$ bend), and 4545.00 (± 0.05) "cm"^(-1) ($E$ stretch + ${T}_{2}$ stretch), respectively.

In comparing the approaches of statistical mechanics, the equipartition theorem, the strongly quantized limit, and resonance frequency acquisitions in an acoustic cavity in determining the speed of sound in methane, the calculated speeds were 446.7 (± 2.4), 407.08 (± 0.07), 451.6 (± 2.4), and 447 (± 7) ${\text{m"cdot"s}}^{- 1}$, respectively. The errors with respect to the literature""^([4]) are -0.009%, 8.8776%, 1.088%, and 0.0582%, respectively. It was concluded that statistical mechanics calculations gave the most accurate determination of the speed of sound in methane.

I also used a Tektronix 2236 100 MHz Oscilloscope, a GW Instek GFG-8020H Function Generator, etc., but I didn't need to mention those in the abstract because they aren't unique instruments to the extent that you must use them to replicate the results.