The annual Bethany College Scholarship Symposium returns to an in-person format on the morning of April 7. Today, we will feature some students who will present research or projects. For a complete schedule, click here.

BETHANY, W.Va. – After considering the past research of Bethany College alumni, Amanda Reynolds, a senior from Sistersville, W.Va., decided to take a different approach.

Amanda Reynolds Chemistry FellowshipThe chemistry and mathematics major will present “Investigating Ideal Acid Course and Kinetic Parameters of Emeraldine Salt Synthesis” at 9:30 a.m. in Old Main 104.

Conductive polymers are a class of organic materials that can conduct electricity. They are used for equipment such as in vivo medicine dispensers, anti-static clothing and various environmentally friendly electrode substitutions.

One of the most common conductive polymers is polyaniline, and one way to synthesize it is to add ammonium persulfate, aniline, chloroform, and a concentrated acid.

“Some Bethany alumni have worked with this synthesis before, but no one has investigated the synthesis itself,” she said. “They have focused more on the application aspects of emeraldine salt.”

Reynolds’ project focuses on the reaction rates, activation energy, and thermodynamic parameters of emeraldine salt synthesis at different temperatures. By testing purity, kinetic parameters, and percent yield, the synthesis reaction could be optimized to save energy, money, and overall conductivity of the polyaniline.

Dr. Scott Brothers, associate professor of chemistry, and Adam Fletcher, professor of mathematics, advised her research.

“It appears that the activation energy, or energy required to do the reaction, does decrease as temperature increases, but there is a temperature cutoff where emeraldine salt degrades and/or solvents evaporate off,” Reynolds said.

What surprised her about the research?

“How patient you must be to do research,” she said. “Not everything goes right the first time, so you must adapt.”


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.