I've never written a blog before, and was never inclined to share personal information about myself on the internet to begin with. I am however on a journey of knowledge through university into a research field of some sort, with my major interest being psychopharmacology. Chemistry and biology classes are currently at the forefront of my studies, since I only began university a few months ago. So I decided I would write about what I like, what I don't like, and what I do in school and hopefully in the years to come, I'll be able to reflect on how my attitude has changed in regards to my interests in school and where I stand on my journey of knowledge. So here is my first ever drug synthesis; Aspirin.
(Completely legal of course)
In first semester, my chemistry lab was Monday nights. This was the second last lab, and like all others, I hadn't read it before hand. We are supposed to, and there is always a pre-lab quiz worth 1/3rd of the lab, but I just didn't have time. Or I did, but I did other things with my time. Ahh... the new found freedom of university. Anyways, back to the lab.
Acetylsalicylic acid isn't an overly complicated molecule. It's more or less a benzoic acid ring, with an acetoxy ether attached at position 2. At least that's what my basic organic chemistry knowledge would deduce.
The reaction required salicylic acid and acetic anhydride, which react to form Aspirin and the main component of vinegar - acetic acid. Then it had to be recrystalized to purify it. Here's what I did, in a summarized version.
2.0 ml of acetic anhydride was added to about 1 gram of salicylic acid, along with 8 drops of phosphoric acid. This was heated, a simple esterification took place, and there you go, acetylsalicylic acid! With a little acetic acid on the side... just kidding. There’s more. Upon cooling the aspirin crystallized as a solid, and now it must be filtered. A vacuum filtration was set up with a funnel with filter paper and the crystals were placed in it. Then after filtration, the crystals were heated and dried. Now, we have aspirin...
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