Drug Separation & Identification
Alec Yang
Moscrop Secondary
Floor Location : M 180 D

This project attempts to find an accessible yet effective way to identify the active components of a drug. Inspired by the outburst of the drug overdose in recent years, this project was specifically designed to mimic the current situation, but rather replacing street drugs with over-the-counter medications. Utilising paper chromatography, the experiment centered around creating a method to distinguish the active ingredients (such as caffeine, aspirin, and ibuprofen) in common analgesics using a series of common household chemicals as the mobile phase. Following the discovery of a suitable mobile phase, an implementation of the method will be applied in an attempt to identify the unknowns in a commercial analgesic tablet. After careful experimentation and deliberation, it was determined that the optimal mobile phase consists of a mixture of hexane and ethyl acetate in the ratio of 98 %: 2%. Using the technique demonstrated in this project, the active ingredients in analgesics, such as Tylenol and Advil tablets, can potentially be identified. Solutions containing analgesics can be spotted on the filter paper along with the control sample, and then developed using the same mobile phase. The identity of the active ingredient can be identified by comparing the Rf values with that of the control sample.