Identifying a Constituent of Panacetin

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Emily Davis
Partner: None
Chemistry 253- TA: Alma Wellensiek
Lab 3: Identifying a Constituent of “Panacetin”

The purpose of this experiment is to determine the unknown component of Panacetin.

Panacetin is an analgesic (pain reducing) and antipyretic (fever reducing) drug that is sold in drug stores. However, there is a suspicion that this bottle may be counterfeit, not containing the chemicals that it should. Panacetin should be made up of about 50 percent of the unknown component that we previously separated out of Panacetin for testing. We suspect that this unknown compound is either acetanilide or phenacetin, both of which can be toxic to humans. It is very important that this component is identified so that no one unknowingly takes the “Panacetin” and becomes ill or dies.

This whole experiment is based on purifying and then finding the melting point of the unknown compound. The theory is that if a substance is pure, it will have a very specific melting point, within one or two degrees Celsius. This is in opposition to a mixed, or contaminated substance, which will have a broad melting range. Therefore, when we mix our unknown with samples of phenacetin and acetanilide, whichever mixture has a more accurate melting point will tell us what our unknown is. It is also important to make sure that the resulting melting points are close to what the proven melting points of the substances are. The lab manual tells us that acetanilide should melt at approximately 114 degrees Celsius and phenacetin should melt at around 134 degrees Celsius.

This experiment was based on the unknown component of “Panacetin”. In addition to our unknown, we used phenacetin, acetanilide and water. The structures of phenacetin and acetanilide are shown respectively.

Phenacetin Acetanilide

Percent Yield:
Total Percent Yield:

Methods/ Procedures:
In order to conduct this...
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