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CHEM 1212L

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How can we determine the effectiveness

of commercial antacids?
Stomach acid is hydrochloric acid, HCl. It is a strong acid and, in the stomach, its concentration
ranges from approximately 0.10 M to 0.001 M. Although HCl is necessary for food digestion,
excess HCl can cause indigestion and heart burn when the stomach pH remains below 3.0 ([H+]
> 0.001 M) for an extended period of time.
More than 600 tablets, liquids, powders, lozenges, gums and pills to "soothe indigestion" are
available to the public. After evaluating the safety and effectiveness of antacid ingredients, the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reached the conclusion that there is no ideal antacid on
the market. Some brands of antacids will neutralize greater quantities of acid than others, and
some act more quickly, but most produce undesirable side effects.
Some antacids contain sodium bicarbonate as the active ingredient. Sodium bicarbonate is
fast-acting, but it can affect the bladder and kidneys upon prolonged use. Also, because of their
high sodium content, these antacids are not recommended for people with kidney disorders or
for people on salt-restricted diets. Sodium bicarbonate neutralizes stomach acid in the following
NaHCO3(aq) + HCl(aq) H2O(l) + CO2(g) + NaCl(aq)
Other antacids contain calcium carbonate as the active ingredient. Calcium carbonate is
reasonably fast-acting, but it may stimulate the stomach to secrete more HCl (called acid
rebound), and prolonged use tends to cause constipation and impaired kidney function.
Calcium carbonate neutralizes stomach acid in the following reaction:
CaCO3(s) + 2HCl(aq) H2O(l) + CO2(g) + CaCl2(aq)
Other antacids contain aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide as the active
ingredients. Antacids containing aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide are relatively
safe and have minimum side effects. Aluminum hydroxide is slow acting, but it provides long
lasting antacid action. They neutralize stomach acid in the following reactions:
Al(OH)3(s) + 3HCl(aq) 3H2O(l) + AlCl3(aq)
Mg(OH)2(s) + 2HCl(aq) 2H2O(l) + MgCl2(aq)
Some antacids contain aspirin, which can further cause stomach irritation in people suffering
from ulcers. Other brands contain caffeine, which stimulates the stomach to secrete more
stomach acid.
The purpose of this experiment is to measure how much HCl is consumed by different types of
antacids, and to compare their relative effectiveness at neutralizing HCl. Further, the relative
economy of use and the active ingredients will be evaluated. With this data, you can decide
which brand of antacid is most effective, economical and has the least side effects.

CHEM 1212L
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The straight-forward method to neutralize the antacid would be by direct titration with 0.10 M
HCl. Unfortunately, titration by this method will not work because most antacids contain buffers
that make it difficult to determine when all the antacid has reacted.
An approach called a "back titration" will be used in this experiment. It avoids the above
mentioned buffer problem by adding a known volume of 1.00 M HCl that is in excess of that
needed to neutralize the antacid and also overwhelms whatever buffers may be present.
Therefore, only part of the HCl added actually neutralizes the antacid. All that is required is to
then neutralize the unreacted HCl with NaOH. The difference between the moles of HCl added
initially to the antacid and the moles of unreacted HCl determined by the titration with NaOH
equals the moles of HCl that the antacid neutralized. Because a strong acid-strong base titration
is being performed, the indicator phenolphthalein can be used to quantitatively determine the
Using the titration results and the 1-to-1 stoichiometry of the HCl-NaOH reaction, the amount of
HCl that is neutralized by the antacid is easily calculated by subtraction:
molesHCl(antacid) = molesHCl(initial) molesNaOH(used in backtitration)
In the above calculation, molesNaOH(used in backtitration) is equal to the moles of HCl which remained
unneutralized by the antacid.
Using the molar mass of HCl, it is therefore easy to conform to the commercial description of
antacid effectiveness, grams of acid neutralized.
Today a technique called back titration is used to determine the effectiveness of an antacid
sample in neutralizing excess stomach acid. Back titrations are often used when samples are
buffered (more on that later!). Since many antacids are buffered, a precisely known, but
excess amount of acid will be added to the antacid to overcome the buffering. The amount of
acid added in excess will be accurately determined and the amount of excess acid consumed
by the antacid sample calculated.
Stepwise instructions are provided here.

Record the data clearly in your lab notebook in neat tables as you obtain it from the
experiment. Label everything! Include units!


Choose an antacid and record the brand of antacid to be tested. Crush one antacid
tablet using a mortar and pestle. Weigh the resulting powder on a weigh boat to the
nearest 0.01 gram and record the weight of the antacid in your lab notebook as antacid
#1. Transfer all of the antacid powder to a clean 250 mL Erlenmeyer flask.


Dissolve the powder in approximately 25 mL H2O. Use some of the water to rinse the
weigh boat if necessary. Observe and record the color of the solution. Note that some
antacids are not too soluble and will not completely dissolve.


Add 8 drops of phenolphthalein indicator solution and observe the color of the solution.
Was your prediction (in 3.) that the solution is acidic, basic or neutral confirmed, or would
you like to change your description of the solution? Briefly, explain your reasoning.

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Using a volumetric pipet, add 20.00 mL of ~1.0 M HCl to the flask and mix well. Record
the exact concentration of HCl as shown on the stock bottle. DO NOT PUT PIPETS IN
THE STOCK BOTTLE. Pour ~25 mL into a beaker or flask, and take that to your
station before filling the pipet. Record any color changes observed in the solution. If
the solution is colorless, proceed to step 6. If the solution is not colorless, use a Mohr
Pipet to add 1 or 2 mL aliquots of ~1.0 M HCl until the solution stays colorless. At this
point, the solution is acidic and we have added an excess of 1.00 M HCl for our back
titration. Record the total volume of HCl added in the table.


Fill a 50 mL buret with ~1.0 M NaOH. Record the exact concentration of the NaOH as
shown on the stock bottle. Run some solution thru the buret tip to remove any air
bubbles and record the initial reading of the volume of solution in the buret (Vi).


Titrate the solution in the flask with the 1.0 M NaOH solution until the endpoint is
observed. The faintest color should persist for at least 30 seconds. Record the final
reading of the volume of solution in the buret (Vf). At this point the unreacted HCl added
in step 1 has been exactly neutralized by the back titration.


Determine the volume, Vf Vi, of 1.00 M NaOH used to neutralize the unreacted
HCl. Record this volume of 1.00 M NaOH.

Post lab report should include followings in addition to summary of data

1. Determine the number of moles of HCl added to the antacid in step 5.

2. Determine the number of moles of NaOH added to the acidified antacid in step 8.
3. Write an equation to determine the number of moles of HCl neutralized by the antacid
solution you prepared.

4. Determine the mass of HCl neutralized by the antacid solution you prepared.
5. Calculate the mass of HCl needed to neutralize 1.00 g of the antacid sample. This
calculation provides a way to compare the effectiveness of different antacids. Record
this as mass of HCl/gram antacid, in units of g HCl per 1.0g antacid.

6. Record the cost per tablet in cents per tablet as shown on the container from which you
took your sample.

7. Calculate the cost per gram of the antacid tablet and record it in cents per 1.0 g of tablet.
8. Calculate the economy of use: Divide the mass HCl for 1g antacid (question 5) by the
cost per gram of antacid. This will give us the mass of HCl consumed by the antacid per
penny. Record your answer.

9. Which is the most effective antacid tablet?

10. Which is the most effective antacid per gram antacid?
11. Which is the most economical antacid?

CHEM 1212L
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Pre Lab Report

1. Given the following data, answer the questions.

Brand of antacid


Weight of antacid tablet


Major base in the CHEM1212K

sodium bicarbonate
(sodium hydrogen carbonate)

Volume of 1M HCl added into the antacid

20 mL

Initial volume reading of 1M NaOH in buret

3 mL

Final volume reading of 1M NaOH in buret

15 mL

a. How many mL of 1M NaOH used in back titration?

b. How many moles of 1M NaOH used in back titration?
c. How many moles of 1M HCl was added into antacid?
d. How many moles of 1M HCl was neutralized by 1M NaOH?
e. How many moles of 1M HCl was neutralized by antacid?

How many moles of sodium bicarbonate in the 2g of antacid?

g. How many grams of sodium bicarbonate in the 2g of antacid?

h. What is the % mass of sodium bicarbonate in the antacid?