Characteristics Of Aspirin

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The lab experiment was divided into parts and the synthesis of the aspirin occurred during the first week. Using 4.032g of salicylic acid 8.0mL of acetic anhydride on a hot bath the reaction was speeded up by the use of a catalyst phosphoric acid. Once the sample was then left to dry in the drawer for a week using the melting point apparatus we conducted the purity assessment of the dried sample.


Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a commonly known drug used to treat fever, pain and inflammation, aspirin can also be purchased over the counter medication or by prescription from a doctor. The synthesis of aspirin occurs by combining acetic anhydride and salicylic acid, salicylic acid is a naturally occurring product that can be found in the bark of a willow tree1. Since it is highly acidic and salicylic acid would potentially damage the gastric membrane hence the addition of the acetic anhydride. C7H6O3+ C4H6O3 C9H8O4 +C2H4O2

A few drops of phosphoric acid are added to the reaction, phosphoric acid acts as a catalyst so as to speed up the rate of the reaction. The use of the acetic anhydride cautions us to prematurely use any water so as to prevent any hydrolysis of the acetic anhydride from occurring.

Results and Discussion:

A 400-600mL beaker was filled with water and placed on a hot plate to create a hot water bath and a
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