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chem3aspirinS05

chem3aspirinS05 - Synthesizing Aspirin and Oil of...

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Synthesizing Aspirin and Oil of Wintergreen Purpose In this experiment, you will synthesize acetylsalicylic acid, commonly known as aspirin, and methyl salicylate, oil of wintergreen, from salicylic acid. You will be able to see how two very different organic compounds can be made from the same common starting material. Introduction We now live in a society that uses drugs frequently, many different kinds of drugs. Drugs fight infection, relieve pain and even help us get to sleep or stay awake. Even though our society is not the first to use drugs, we certainly use more than any other society before us. Part of this reason is that in prehistoric times, the variety of drugs was limited. Most drugs were found in nature; therefore, when a particular resource was depleted, the drug was no long available. Now we can synthesize compounds that mimic many of the drugs found in natural and synthesize them on a very big scale. Each year, new drugs are being synthesized, tested, and introduced to our society. Freedom from pain has always been our goal for survival. In early primitive societies, alcohol, opium, cocaine and hemp (marijuana) were used for pain relief. Unfortunately there were also a lot of side effects. Salicylic acid was isolated from willow bark in 1860. It was found to be a good analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (reduces fever). However, the taste of the salicylic acid was sour and irritating to the stomach.
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