Thursday, July 1, 2010

Aspirin That If You Took It Would Probably Make You Ill

First item of good news is that the air-conditioning in my room was fixed some time this afternoon! The night before, I set up a plastic bag so I could funnel the leak into a trash bucket. Thankfully, the intrusive little setup didn’t need to stick around for long. 

I’ve gotten settled into the routine for class, as I woke up with the perfect amount of time for a shower and breakfast before I ran off to class. 

Today, we synthesized and attempted to isolate acetylsalicylic acid: commonly known as aspirin. The process is a little different from what I imagined. The actual synthesis is incredibly simple and takes very little time. All you need to do is put three chemicals, (salicylic acid, acetic anhydride, and sulfuric acid) into a flask and heat it. The real hard work is separating it from all of the byproducts including the water it's dissolved in! We spent most of the entire lab distilling and filtering and crystallizing it to get it as pure as possible while minimizing how much of our product we lost during every step. Tomorrow, we’ll then start testing how much of our product is truly the aspirin we were trying to produce! 

Today’s seminar guest speaker Professor Snyder spoke about the many amazing compounds that have been derived from nature! It made me smile when he began talking about penicillin. Everyone applying for the Chemistry class through the ILC had to write an in depth paper on penicillin’s discovery and history. 

Our lab group is coming together strongly. We all get along and work well with each other! Most of our group met each other for dinner and then later, a couple of us went to Starbucks, where we used their free WiFi to look up the properties of various chemicals we worked with. Our professor would have been amused. 

Anyways, I’m going to sleep. Have a wonderful day!

1 comment:

  1. Jamie,

    I think I wrote in one of your fellow aspirin maker's blogs yesterday about how we did the same experiment back in high school and how our aspirin really didn't look like it was of medical grade materials.

    That's too bad, too, since it seems that your fellow ILC members in the Presidential Powers course can really use something for the headaches their class is giving them.