The Synthesis of Aspirin

Over the next two weeks, students from seven local secondary schools will visit the La Trobe University campus in Albury-Wodonga to complete an essential part of their year 12 Chemistry subject.

ScienceIn three-hour workshops to be held on Monday 13 May, Thursday 16 May and Thursday 23 May, the students will undertake a three-stage analytical chemistry experiment that involves making aspirin and testing for the purity of the product.

‘It can be difficult for schools to access the equipment required for students to conduct these sorts of experiments,’ says program coordinator Dr Martin Fussell, Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Management and Ecology at La Trobe University in Albury-Wodonga.

‘During the Outreach Program, students conduct an experiment and then back it up with theory. Putting theory into practice is very important for understanding – the hands-on experience tends to make chemistry much clearer to the students,’ says Dr Fussell.

‘It’s really important that students have the opportunity to become familiar with some of the equipment we have here, both for their studies in year 12 chemistry but also so that they might consider studying science in the local area after they leave school,’ says Dr Fussell.

The Chemistry Outreach Program is one of two conducted at the Albury-Wodonga Campus. The program is also conducted in the Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering at La Trobe University Melbourne.

During the program, the students will first conduct the chemical reaction required to make aspirin. Second, the aspirin will be tested for purity using three different methods – infrared spectrometry, mass spectrometry, and nuclear magnetic resonance. This gives the students practical laboratory experience conducting different types of analysis.

Finally the students will assess the results of the tests conducted in order to see how chemistry can be used for quality control in the manufacture of aspirin.


What? Chemistry Outreach Program

Where? Student teaching laboratories, La Trobe University, University Drive, Wodonga

When? Monday 13 May, Thursday 16 May and Thursday 23 May 2013

Media contact:

Dr Martin Fussell
Chemistry Outreach Program coordinator
T 02 6024 9876 | E

Suzi Macbeth
Media and Communications Officer
T 03 9479 5353| E