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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 19 (2014) pp 055-057

Synthesis and Analysis of Aspirin in Three Hours: Protocol Optimization and TLC/HPLC Analyses Result in Improved High School/Non-Science Major Student Success

Christa A. Currie

College of Mount St. Joseph, Department of Chemistry, 5701 Delhi Road, Cincinnati, OH 45233,
Received January 28, 2013. Accepted February 5, 2014.

Published: 14 March 2014

Abstract. An instrumental lab experience, specifically designed for visiting high school students and/or non-science majors, was developed around the synthesis and analysis of aspirin. Previous experiments involving aspirin synthesis have yielded limited success with aspirin being synthesized by students less than 50% of the time. Combining aspects from various synthesis protocols, a new aspirin protocol was developed that yielded successful synthesis of high quality aspirin 98% of the time. This protocol was tested by several groups including high school students, non-science majors, and allied health students. The synthesis was also coupled with an introduction to chromatography by allowing students to perform both thin layer chromatography (TLC) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to test the purity of their synthesized product.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (335 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Instructor Notes, Typical Student TLC Plate, Representative chromatograms for HPLC standards and Excedrin, Typical Student HPLC chromatogram of synthesized product, and a Student Handout are available (40 KB).

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