Sample Essay

How to prepare a supersaturated solution of Acetylsalicylic acid?


Acetylsalicylic acid, commonly known as Aspirin, is derived from salicylic acid. Aspirin heals headaches and it was found that a small amount of bitter tasting yellow, needle-like crystals call salicin, performed the function. The extraction of salicin from bark of willow tree improved with time. When salicin is split into sugar and an aromatic component, salicylaldehyde, the hydrolysis and oxidation of salicylaldehyde converts it into an acid. This acid, known as salicylic acid, is crystallized needle-like and colorless. When salicylic acid is buffered with sodium and acetyle chloride, we obtain acetylsalicylic acid. (Helmenstine)

Preparation of Acetylsalicylic acid:


Transfer 3 grams of salicylic acid to a dry Erlenmeyer flask after carefully weighing them. Put 6 ml acetic anhydride and 6 to 8 drops of 85% phosphoric acid. Smoothly mix the solution in the flask and keep swirling. Fill a beaker with warm water and keep the flask in it for approximately 15 minutes. To keep it supersaturated, don’t add too much water to the warm solution. Put 10-15 ml water to the solution and place the flask in an ice bath to cool it down. This will augment the crystallization process. When crystals appear transfer the mixture through a Buckner funnel. Perform vacuum filtration through the funnel and wash the crystals with a little amount of cold water. We use cold water in order to avoid loss of product. (Helmenstine)

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