Click below to read a summary of the Medicines project ideas for Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards; or to go back to project ideas click here.
Find out which antacids work the quickest
In this project you’re going to investigate different antacids. You’re going to do some experiments to see how quickly they work. Get a number of different antacids (some brand names to look for include Rennies, Tummies, Milk of Magnesia, Remogel and Gaviscon). List their active ingredients. These should be written on the side of the packaging.
Your stomach contains acid. This helps you to digest food. But when we have too much acid (sometimes caused by the food you eat, or the speed at which you eat) it can give you heartburn. You may have had it before – it’s not a pleasant feeling! If you’ve never had it before, ask your parents what it feels like. Indigestion remedies work because they neutralise the excess acid in your stomach.
Make and analyse pain relievers
You should start this project with some research into over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers.
- What are OTC medicines?
- Ask people what OTC pain relievers they use, and why. Among the people you ask, what are the most popular OTC pain-reliever brands?
- Group various products according to active ingredient. These are written on the side of the packaging. Which ones do you think offer the best value for money?
- Think about the range of forms OTC pain relievers are available in (for example, tablets, capsules, liquid). Why do you think there is such a variety?
- What other information can you find on the labels (for example, recommended doses, instructions for storage)?
Investigate how quickly vitamin and mineral supplements get into the bloodstream
For this project you will probably need to link up with a local university to use some of its analytical equipment. In many cases, you will be trying to identify very small quantities of minerals (or, more precisely, metal ions), and your school or college equipment is unlikely to be sensitive enough for the job. You may also want to contact an analytical chemist from a company that produces vitamin and mineral supplements. They should be able to tell you how the purity of the supplements are analysed. A local university may be able to help.
You should start by deciding which supplements to test. Iron tablets or multi-vitamin tablets are two suggestions. Iron in the form of iron(II) ions can be detected and analysed relatively easily. Vitamins are a little harder – ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is perhaps the easiest to test for.