The Automated Synthesis of Aspirin: An Undergraduate Practical Activity

Matthew Nel, Kariska Potgieter, Oyekunle Azeez Alimi, Andre L. Nel, Reinout Meijboom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advances in laboratory automation and digitization require a teaching strategy for undergraduate students that is inclusive of skills in these areas so that students can be prepared to work within the modern laboratory. Future scientists will need training in coding, microcontrollers, on-demand manufacturing, and robotics. With this in mind, we aim to present a simple automated setup for use in undergraduate teaching, exposing and introducing these additional and integrative skillsets that the new generation of students, researchers, and teaching staff will need within the chemistry field. This automated setup performed the well-known synthesis of aspirin, which is often part of the traditional organic chemistry curriculum. Exposing students to simple laboratory automation is an important first step in preparing them to engage with the technology used in modern laboratories. This activity encourages students to think critically about applying automation within the laboratory and showed them the possibilities that a robotic-orientated workflow combined with programming, coding, and synthesis holds a new world of exploration, collaboration, and expansion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3773-3779
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2022


  • Digital Synthesis
  • Hands-On Learning
  • Laboratory Equipment
  • Laboratory Instruction
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Robotic Synthesis
  • Third-Year Undergraduate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'The Automated Synthesis of Aspirin: An Undergraduate Practical Activity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this