A N A L Y T I C A L C H E M I S T R Y 2 5 6
R O L E - P L A Y I N G L A B
1998-1999 Academic Year
©Prof. John P. Walters
St. Olaf College
Northfield, MN 55057

Introduction to Role-Playing and Laboratory Computing
Defining the Kinds of Role-Playing Responsibilities
Round-Robin Certification of Laboratory Glassware
Production Quality Control Lead Analysis
Statistical/Chemical Evaluation of Lead Data
Semi-Automated Weak Acid Titration
Graphical Analysis of Weak Acid Titration
Designing a Mock Robot Experiment
Executing the Mock Robot Experiment

The Incredible Edible Easter Egg Grass Advertising Dilemma

The Downsizing Dilemma
The Broken Pill Coating Machine Assembly Line Shutdown Dilemma
The Instrument Purchase Payment Release Dilemma


Manager: Deciding if the Company should market edible grass
Chemist: Blending solutions to test the validity of edibility
Software: Controlling the spectrophotometer and comparing colors
Hardware: Running the robot spectrophotometer with cell handling


A competitor claims to have an "edible" Easter egg grass for use in Easter baskets. You have a product that is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved to be non-toxic, but have never advertised it as actually edible. It appears the competition may have a marketing edge with its claim to edibility. But, you suspect that their claim is not due to a new green grass dye. Rather, you suspect that all they have done is blend FDA approved blue and yellow dyes and re-marketed them under the edible rubric. If so, you can capitalize on their advertising budget by "copy and improve" management. But, you have to be sure that their green dye is the same as a linear blend of your own FDA approved blue and yellow, or else run the risk of liability and infringement suits. Classic risk management depending directly on the quality of your chemistry is involved.


Upper Management wants to know whether to copy the competition's advertising without the need of hiring a new chemist to synthesize a new green dye and go through the very expensive FDA new product approval cycle. You are to provide the technical basis, with your own ethical overview, for making the decision. The credibility of your staff and the way they interacted to get the technical information is at issue. The quality of your data will be compared against the losses from making a bad management call. How well you reverse engineered the product is interesting.