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Science 10

CR2 Consumer Reports: Best Buy Lab

Background Information
One of the simplest medicines to understand in terms of its chemical
action is the antacid tablet. Commercial antacids are advertised as a
means of relieving upset stomach. One brand claims that it consumes
47 times its own weight in excess stomach acid. This claim raises
several questions: What is stomach acid? What is excess stomach
acid? What does consumes mean?
Your stomach contains hydrochloric acid to prepare protein for
digestion and to kill bacteria entering your stomach. The digestive
juices normally have a pH of about 3, but they can become too acidic.
Excess acid exists when the pH value of the stomach contents falls
below 3, causing symptoms such as heartburn and indigestion. An
antacid is a weak base that consumes, or neutralizes excess stomach
acid. It is not healthy to take a lot of antacid tablets, particularly
strong ones, because if you neutralize too much acid, your body will
supply more acid to the stomach. Therefore, too much antacid can
cause a vicious cycle and produce ulcers.

Which Antacid is the Best Buy?

In this activity you will use a form of titration to test different antacids
to see which can neutralize the most acid. The antacid that neutralizes
the most acid for the lowest price is called the best buy. Titration is
an important laboratory procedure used in performing chemical
analyses. In this acid-base titration, an acid is added to a weakly basic
antacid tablet; the titration is stopped when the indicator changes
color, showing that the reaction is complete.
Various antacid tablets
100 mL graduated cylinder
250 mL flask
white paper

mortar and pestle

stirring rod
Congo Red indicator (0.1%)
hydrochloric acid (10%)
electronic balance

1. Use the chart below to collect your data.
2. Record the mass of an antacid tablet.
3. Use a clean pestle to crush an antacid tablet in a clean mortar.
4. Add 50 mL of water to the mortar. Stir to dissolve the tablet,
then pour the contents of the mortar into a 250 mL flask. Rinse
the mortar with another 50 mL of water. Again, pour the
contents into the flask.
5. Add 6 drops of Congo Red indicator to the flask.
6. Carefully add hydrochloric acid, drop by drop, while gently
swirling the flask over a sheet of white paper until the contents
of the flask turn a light purplish blue. Record the number of
drops of acid neutralized by the tablet.
7. Repeat steps 2 to 6 for a different brand of antacid as directed by
your teacher.
8. Your teacher will provide price information for the different
brands of tablets investigated by the class.
Note: There are 25 drops of acid in each mL.
1. Which antacid tablet neutralized the most acid?
2. Calculate the number of drops of acid neutralized per gram of
tablet. Which brand of tablet was the most effective per gram?
Rank the tablets in order of effectiveness, with the most effective
at the top of the list.
3. Calculate the number of mL of acid neutralized per penny ($0.01)
spent. Which tablet was the most effective per penny? Rank the
tablets in order of cost with the most economical at the top of
the list.
4. Considering both of your lists, which antacid tablet would you
rate as the best buy (high effectiveness coupled with low
Tablet 1

Mass of
Cost per
Drops of

Tablet 2

Tablet 3

Tablet 4

mL of Acid
d per gram
of Tablet