Aspirin is one of the most widely used medications in the world with over 58 billion doses consumed each year. Long regarded as an effective painkiller but also used to treat a range of ailments including preventing strokes, it is relatively easy to produce. On Wednesday, our Lower Sixth chemists took on the challenge to produce their own aspirin from one of the intermediates (salicylic acid) into pure aspirin. This multi-stage process included both the synthesis and purification in the lab. Working in pairs they produced aspirin before testing it for purity and analysing the crystals. The synthesis coincided with our teaching of carbonyl and aromatic compounds. Pupils also covered a wide range of laboratory techniques with recrystallisation, thin-layer chromatography and melting point analysis.
We will have an Infra-Red Spectroscopy machine from Plymouth University in the Chemistry labs next week to further test the purity of our products.
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