Aims and objectives: I have decided that my overall aim for the project is to figure out what is good about some types of antacids, therefore being able to know how to improve them and helping people suffering from indigestion or heartburn. I will start off by designing an experiment to measure the success of different antacids such as Zantac. I will then go to a pharmacy and buy several different brands of antacids, then list their active ingredients. After that I will do the experiment, and then look at the results to see what ingredients make a good antacid, and which antacid is the best.
Context: My context is going to be for people suffering from heartburn, indigestion, or any other problem needing antacids. This could be very important for these people, as better antacids would result in faster pain relief and reduce the chances of their problem getting any worse. Antacids are made to neutralize excess stomach acid. They do this because acids and bases always react to form a salt and water, with H+ ions and OH– ions making H2O.
Selection of approach: I have made several different plans of how I could do the experiment. Two of these are measuring how much acid it takes to neutralize each antacid. Another idea is to have test tubes with the same amount of acid in each (and universal indicator) and measure the ph change when an antacid is added. I have decided that I am going to do one of the first experiments rather than the other type, because I think it will be easier to measure the results. I have also had to choose how I do that. The two ideas I had were to have a set amount of acid and measure how much antacid I put in, and to have a set amount of antacid and measure how much acid I put in. I have decided to use a set amount of antacids, as it would have been difficult to cut the tablets into pieces accurately. Also, there would be a danger of injury as the knife could slip when trying to cut the tablets.
Project Strategy: In my experiment, I will put one tablet of each antacid in separate beakers, and put some hydrochloric acid in a burette (the concentration does not matter, as long as it is kept the same for each test). I will then add some universal indicator, and then drop in the acid bit by bit, stirring it each time, and looking at the burette as soon as it is green (neutral because of the universal indicator) to see how much acid was used to neutralize the antacid. I will repeat this with each brand of antacid 3 times to get a more accurate average result.
Planning and organisation: I believe that I have planned my project as carefully and thoroughly as I can. As I am doing this project by myself, I will not receive much help from other people, although my science teacher will help me with getting out the equipment and acid, and my parents will probably help me get the antacids from the pharmacy.
Conclusions and implications: I can conclude from the evidence I have that Gaviscon is the best antacid that I tested, as it took 16.6ml on average for the ph level to change the set amount, compared to the 12.4ml average for Bisodol. The Gaviscon was made of 250mg sodium alginate, 133.5mg sodium hydrogen carbonate and 80mg calcium carbonate. The Bisodol was made of 522mg calcium carbonate, 68mg light magnesium carbonate and 64mg sodium bicarbonate. With this we can conclude that calcium carbonate is not the most effective ingredient for antacids, and they should instead be made of mostly sodium alginate. This conclusion means that the antacid industry should change the way they make their antacids, resulting in more efficient and better pain relief to the people in the world suffering from indigestion or anything else needing antacids.
Understanding of project outcome: My actions affected the outcome of the project in both good and bad ways. My actions firstly affected the project badly, as when I bought the antacids, I did not check them to see whether they had colourings in them. Two of them did, and this meant that the universal indicator did not work to identify their ph level, as the colourings in the tablets affected the colour of the solution with the universal indicator. This meant that the experiment had to be done with only Gaviscon and Bisodol, so the conclusion could only be drawn from the results of these two antacids. However, my actions also improved the outcome of the project. For example, when I encountered another problem that the antacids turned green when mixed with universal indicator, when I was expecting them to be red or orange. This meant that I could no longer add acid until they turned green, as they were already green. I then instead decided to add acid until they were roughly ph5, using my judgement and a ph scale to make sure I stopped them at the same colour each time. Although less accurate than the original plan, it was my actions that made sure the project could still go ahead nonetheless.
Reflection on Learning: Overall in this project I have learnt a lot of things. Firstly, I have learnt that Gaviscon, and therefore sodium alginate and sodium hydrogen carbonate, is the best antacid. Secondly, I have improved my skills in planning, performing, and analysing results from scientific experiments. Although I had planned and undertook experiments before, I had never done one completely independently, and never any with as much planning or time as this one. I also learnt more about how acids and bases react, as I knew before that an acid and a base always formed a salt and water, but I did not know about H+ and OH– ions combining to make water. I might have improved my project and therefore learnt more if I had thought ahead to use litmus paper rather than universal indicator, as it would have meant I could have used more types of antacids that had colourings in them to get better and more accurate results. As well, I learnt how to do titration, which was a key skill in my experiment and helped me understand neutralization a lot easier.