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FlinnPREP™ Inquiry Labs for AP® Chemistry: Separating a Synthetic Pain Relief Mixture

By: The Flinn Staff

The Separating a Synthetic Pain Relief Mixture Inquiry Lab Solution for AP® Chemistry explores physical properties of a synthetic mixture to determine its percent composition while integrating solubility and acid–base reaction concepts.

Includes access to exclusive FlinnPREP™ digital content to combine the benefits of classroom, laboratory and digital learning. Each blended learning lab solution includes prelab videos about concepts, techniques and procedures, summary videos that relate the experiment to the AP® exam, built-in student lab safety training with assessments, and standards-based, tested inquiry labs with real sample data. FlinnPREP™ Inquiry Lab Solutions are adaptable to you and how you teach with multiple ways to access and run your AP® labs.

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Big Idea 3, Investigation 9, Primary Learning Objective 3.10

Most over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are mixtures of active drug ingredient(s) and binders with a variable composition. Investigate the physical properties of ingredients in a synthetic pain relief mixture and determine its percent composition.

In the introductory activity, students test the solubility of each possible OTC component in ethyl acetate and in an aqueous solution of sodium bicarbonate. Using these results, students design of a flow chart procedure to separate the components and determine the amount of each. Optional extension activities include varying the composition of the OTC mixtures and analyzing consumer samples. Students may also measure the melting points of the isolated components to confirm their identity.

This advanced inquiry lab integrates student understanding of solubility and acid–base chemical reactions. 

Complete for 24 students working in pairs. Perform this experiment in a fume hood or well-ventilated lab.

FLINNprep is just one of the powerful learning pathways accessed via PAVO, Flinn’s award-winning gateway to standards-aligned digital science content paired with hands-on learning.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Using mathematics and computational thinking

Disciplinary Core Ideas

HS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter

Crosscutting Concepts

Scale, proportion, and quantity
Structure and function

Performance Expectations

HS-PS1-3. Plan and conduct an investigation to gather evidence to compare the structure of substances at the bulk scale to infer the strength of electrical forces between particles.
HS-PS2-6. Communicate scientific and technical information about why the molecular-level structure is important in the functioning of designed materials.